Aggrieved farmers demand compensation

More than 300 farmers whose crops were destroyed to pave way for the Inland Valley Rice Development Project (IVRDP) at Ohiamadwen and its surrounding communities in the Shama District have appealed to the government to compensate them.

Mr Kobina Badu, a spokesperson for the farmers, told a stakeholders’ meeting at Shama that compensation would enable them go into other vocations.

He said the government acquired 75 hectares of land at Ohiamadwen, Kobina-Anokrom, Anteabua, Badukrom, Dompim Number One and Babel/Nkronu for the rice project in 2005 but the project stalled in June 2011.

He said no compensation was paid to the farmers whose crops were destroyed.

Mr Badu said officials of IVRDP and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture promised the farmers that the land would be returned to them after the preparation of the site but since the project had stalled they had been deprived of their livelihood.

Mr Kofi Ayiah, former Western Regional Coordinator of the IVRDP, said the project had no compensation package for farmers since it was a “demand-driven one”.

For example, he said, no compensation was paid to farmers in eight other beneficiary districts in the Western Region and these are Juabeso, Bia, Amenfi West, Sefwi-Wiawso, Ellembele, Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Aowin and Suaman districts.

Mr Ayiah said the project was supposed to be executed within a two-year period by Mark Sam Construction Limited but the contractor delayed and when the time elapsed African Development Bank (ADB), which was funding the project, terminated the contract in 2011.

He said although some components of the project including building the capacity of farmers, dispensing credit to rice growers, supplying of farm inputs and organizing the farmers into groups were undertaken, preparation of the site for the project was not completed before the contract was terminated.

Mr. Ayiah said a new consultant from India had been contracted to re-design and re-package the rice project at Ohiamadwen and its surrounding communities, adding that the consultant hadvisited the project site twice and has submitted a report to the NRGP.

He expressed optimism that the project would be re-activated by January next year.

Mr. Hamid Mohammed, Development Planning Officer of the Shama District Assembly, appealed to the farmers to exercise restraints while steps were taken to address their concerns.

Source: GNA

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