Cocoa farmers petition government over destruction of farms

Cocoa farmers at Abodoabo in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District have petitioned the government to stop the destruction of their farms by personnel of the Military and Forestry Commission.

Nana Gyan Kwaw, Chief of Abodoabo, spokesman for the farmers, claimed that the personnel, who were undertaking an operation in the area, had already cut down more than 1,000 acres of cocoa farms belonging to about 400 farmers.

He told GNA that their toil and sacrifice had become a waste adding that their houses, livestock and personal belongings have also been destroyed.

Nana Kwaw complained that the exercise dubbed: “Operation Halt” lacked a human face as almost everything within sight has been destroyed.

He explained that before the demarcation of the Tanoso Extension Reserve in 1960, the Abodoabo community existed and that some of their farms were over 50 years ago.

Nana Kwaw said that these farms could not be said to be located in the reserve,

The Deputy District Manager of the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwasi Frimpong, rebutted the claim and said that the admitted village at the time of the establishment of the reserve covered a land area of less than 10 hectares.

He said that currently, between 80 and 85 per cent of the 75.08 kilometre square Tanoso Extension had been devastated adding it had been cleared and planted with cocoa and food crops.

Mr Frimpong said that the operation has been strictly confined to farms in the reserve and that it was the fourth time in 26 years that the Commission was destroying illegal farms.

Source: GNA

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