The National Democratic Congress, NDC Member of Parliament for Aowin in the Western Region, Hon. Matthias Kwame Ntow fears that cocoa farmers across the country will soon embark on a desperate action of cutting down their cocoa trees.
The Member of Parliament says cocoa farmers, especially those in his constituency are ready to cut down their cocoa trees and damn the consequences.
The threats of the farmers stem from what they say is the failure of current and previous governments to develop the cocoa sector and seek the wellbeing of the farmers.
Production of Ghana’s economic tree, cocoa, is under serious threat as hundreds of cocoa farmers, especially in the Western Region, are cutting down their cocoa farms for rubber plantation.
The worrying situation, if not checked, will threaten the country’s progress in fighting extreme hunger and poverty.
Speaking on the Rite FM Agric Forum with Austin Ofori Addo, Hon Mathias regretted the fact that cocoa farmers were always cheated as their efforts were not recognized or appreciated by policy makers.
This is despite the fact that the sector remains the key contributor to the country’s economic transformation, a development the MP isn’t happy with.
“Cocoa farmers are tired of being cheated by politicians as the major political players have not put proper mechanisms in place to regulate the sector,” hon Kwame Ntow averred, adding that he is ready to make history by being the first Member Of Parliament to go to prison for fighting for good prices for their farmers or forcing them (cocoa farmers) to cut down their cocoa trees.
“A time will surely come when we will cut and burn our cocoa farms and I don’t care if I’m arrested for that,” he threatened while accusing the country’s policy makers of stealing huge sums of money for their personal use at the expense of farmers.
The lawmaker also expressed concern over the deplorable state of roads linking cocoa growing areas and blamed successive governments for failing to put those roads in good shape.
“The so-called cocoa roads are nowhere to be found and so when government is talking about development, he must first consider the road network in cocoa growing or farming communities to make it accessible to the market to prevent post-harvest loses among the farmers,” he pointed out.
He therefore called on Ghanaian farmers to stand against any form of influence from any political party to buy their vote, rather urging them to fight for what is due them which is the only way to gain their prestige.
Major communities in the Western region where rubber plantation has taken over cocoa farming include Manso Amenfi, Wassa Dunkwa Yirase, Wassa Afransie, Anakom, Hiawa, Adaemanso, Anyinabirem, Kwaamang, Bonuama, Bawdie, Amuni, Nkakaa, Suroso Akyekyere, Pensanom, Bantama all in the Amenfi West, Amenfi Central and Amenfi East District of the Western Region, the leading region in cocoa production the Ghana.
Most of these farmers explained that rubber plantation was more lucrative than cocoa farm working on cocoa farms was more difficult than rubber plantation.
Scores of concerned farmers also made passionate appeal to the government to come up with regulations that will prevent farmers from cutting down trees unless they are infested with cocoa diseases.
COCOBOD, which regulates Ghana’s cocoa industry has said that it was working to ensure that Ghana regained its spot as the top cocoa grower in the world, with an annual target of 1 million tonnes.
But that will obviously not be possible unless the cocoa farm displacement issues are fixed once and for all.
By: Austin Ofori Addofirstname.lastname@example.org