Farms destroyed to save Krokosua Forest; 8 encroachers arrested

A combined team of police, military and forestry task force from Bibiani, Sefwi Wiawso and Juaboso districts, has destroyed hectares of cocoa and food crop farms at the Krokosua Hills Forest Reserve  in the Western Region.

Several farmers have turned portions of the forest reserve into farms. The Krokosua Hills Forest Reserve  covers an area of 481.60 kilometer square.

Farming was only allowed on 2,579.7 hectares of the forest reserve according to the Forestry Commission. However some of these farms were not maintained over the years by their owners compelling the Forestry Commission to take over the land and restore it as part of the forest reserve .

In 2004, a section of chiefs and elders of communities in the area petitioned the commission for re-demarcation. In 2005, farms covering 1,212.47 hectares were demarcated and released to the petitioners.

Consequently, encroachers took advantage and cultivated crops on the land.   The farmers’ continued extending their farms despite court rulings asking them to stay within their boundaries.

The Omanhene of Sefwi Wiawso, Katakyie Kwesi Bumagama, who led the destruction of farms promised support for the initiative to save the forest.



“All the illegal farms should be destroyed on my authority; this has nothing to do with the central government. The law should deal with any stubborn farmer; and I expect the forestry commission to carry out the work as expected and that’s why I decided to join them” the chief said.

Security personnel cut down cocoa trees and ensured the roots were also removed. The Juaboso District Forestry Commission Manager, Henry Kudiabor said the exercise will continue to save the forest reserve.

READ ALSO:  Akufo-Addo increases Parliament's budget

“This time around, we are going to make sure we poison the trees. I will like to caution all farmers especially the migrant ones to this area, that nobody has got land in the forest reserve for sell for cultivation of farms. We are not going to leave this forest to be destroyed like the others” he warned.

Arrests

Meanwhile eight farmers who are suspected to have illegally entered the forest have been arrested by the Asawinso police. The eight were picked up during the operation to destroy farmlands in the forest reserve. According to the Asawinso police, the eight entered the forest illegally



When questioned, the suspects told the police they were invited by the Omanhene of the Sefwi Wiawso Traditional Area, a claim the chief denied.

Asawinso District Police Commander, DSP Richard Boahene, said the eight suspects were in the forest reserve illegally and will be charged and arraigned before court.

The Bia East and West, Bodi and Juaboso district forestry manager, Henry kudiabor, said there have been threatening messages from some farmers whose farms were affected in the operations and feared the eight were there to cause confusion.

So far, about 40 farmers have been arrested for farming in the Krokosua Forest Reserve from January to July 2015..

By:3news.com/Ghana

]]>