Scores of farmers at the communities within the Ejisu-Juaben municipality in the Ashanti Region have mounted a strong protest against the sale of their farmlands by the paramount chief of Ejisu, Nana Afrane Okese IV.
The farmers from Abenase, Ampabame, Edwinase, Onwe, and Asarpong say the chief has sold lands on which they have their cocoa farms, to a private developer and the Ghana Free Zones Board.
According to them, the action of the chief has the potential to threaten their livelihood and Ghana’s efforts at increasing its cocoa production to one million by end of 2017.
At a protest march Thursday, the farmers claimed the developers have mounted pillars and preparing to ‘forcibly’ destroy hundreds of acres of cocoa trees on the lands.The farmers cultivate about five thousand acres of cocoa every year in the area every year.
But all the cocoa farms and other cash crops are under threat of destruction as the chief has sold the farmlands to private developers and also offered a part to Free Zones Board.
Some pillars have already being erected in some of the farms as indications that, the lands have been taken over from the farmers.
The farmers alleged the chief has sold off their farmlands without consultation.
They have thus registered their displeasure and called on the Asantehene and President Nana Akufo-Addo to intervene.Kofi Appiah, cocoa farmer, who also doubles as spokesperson for the farmers said they won’t allow the chief to satisfy his ‘selfish’ gains at the expense of the poor farmers.
“These cocoa farms and other cash crops are what are keeping us alive. We will not sit down for the chief to clear these lands,” he warned.
Mr Appiah further stated that chiefs must rather help cocoa production to go up instead of trying to destroy the effort of the government to increase production for their selfish interest.
A visibly angry cocoa farmer, Alex Nkrumah Dwumfuor, says he can’t stand losing his entire investment on his 45 acres of cocoa.
“We are ready to match boot for boot to whoever tries to forcefully take over our farmlands.
We don’t want any violence to erupt that is why we are calling on all stakeholders to quickly intervene,” he said.
Reacting on behalf of the paramount chief of Ejisu, Okyeame Nana Kwadwo Ampofo, refuted all claims of the farmers.
By Ibrahim Abubakar|TV3|3news.com|Ghana