Cocoa farmers appeal to COCOBOD to improve roads

Scores of farmers in the Assin North Municipality of the Central Region have appealed to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to construct roads in the area to enable them carry their produce to urban and marketing centres.

They said the recent torrential rains in their areas had worsened the terrible nature of roads, leaving many foodstuffs and cocoa beans in the villages.

The farmers made the appeal at Assin Fosu when Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD addressed them as part of his tour of the Region.

They mentioned some seriously affected roads to include; Adiembra-Dompim, Senchem, Brofoyedru junction-Akropong-Odumasi, Dominase, Fish Odumasi, Akonfudi, Endwa and Assin town roads.

According to them, cocoa farming was the mainstay of the indigenes in the Municipality but farmers had it tough transporting their cocoa and other farm produce.

“The recent torrential rains have made the roads impassable and cut most of the farmers off from major market centres, where they sold their goods and farm produce”, Mr Theophilos Togba, Spokesperson for the aggrieved farmers said.

The situation according to them, had compelled many farmers especially the youth to abandon their farms and migrated to the cities.

 Other farmers who spoke in an interview with the Ghana News Agency corroborated the story and added that the situation had resulted in drivers charging exorbitant fares to enable them maintain their vehicles which frequently breakdown..

Mr Edward Kofi Boateng, a farmer from Fosu-Odumasi revealed that the farmers in the area had been cut-off from the rest of the municipality following the collapse of a bridge that linked the community to Fosu township.

Nana Kutsin Amoah I, Abakomahen, of Effutuakwa Traditional Area, said that apart from the loss of farm produce, the situation posed a serious threat to road users particularly the life of children and the aged who used the broken bridges to attend school on daily basis in Assin Fosu.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD assured them of government’s commitments to tackle the road infrastructure across the country.

He said his outfit was in talks with the African Development Bank (AFDB) to source funds to start and complete road networks in cocoa communities with the view to ensuring access to remote cocoa areas as well as creating a congenial environment to promote the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

Among other things, it will solve the challenges associated with carting cocoa beans from the farm gates to buying centres and also improve their livelihoods

He said his outfit had begun a full audit into all road contracts to ensure that it did not strain the Company’s finances.

“We are just suspending the project to make way for a comprehensive audit which will give us a clearer picture because we need to protect the public purse especially money coming from the sweat of modest cocoa farmers,” he said.

Source: GNA

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