Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Nick Baskett
Mr Thomas Adjei, the President of New Juaben Corporative Cocoa Farmers Union, reports that Ghana is at risk of losing their position as the second largest cocoa-producing country in the world. The impact says Mr Adjei is due to illegal mining.
In Ghana, Chiefs traditionally have power of land rights, and some Chiefs have been selling land for illegal mining. It is reported that 3,000 square acres of land previously used for cocoa farming in the Eastern region of Ghana has been taken away from the farmers there.
The farmers not only lose their livelihood, but have not received any compensation for the land either.
At a short ceremony in which the Corporative donated a protective equipment and tools worth $22,500. The Corporative was able to purchase the items with a bonus payment awarded to them from Mondelez International. The bonus is calculated based on volume of production.
The items were purchased from the annual loyalty bonus given to the respective cocoa unions by Cocoa Life Programme Mondelez International, which is calculated by collating the volumes of cocoa beans produced by these unions annually.
we only become aware when the cocoa trees are being pulled down without dialogue to evaluate and compensate us for our plantations that have been destroyedPresident of New Juaben Corporative Cocoa Farmers Union
Mr Adjei continued lambasting the Chiefs in question accusing some chiefs of selling land with an existing cocoa crop to the All Nations University and to Joy Industries Limited, noting that the Cocoa trees were cut down and replaced with Coconut trees.
Mr Adjei expressed fear that failure on the part of the government and the Land Commission to protect the farmers would send the country into serious economic hardship because of the importance of cocoa production to the country’s economy.
Mr Adjei recognised that the ownership of the lands is not in dispute, but the way it has always worked was that people working the land would be compensated. That is not happening now.
We are not saying the lands belong to us but whenever the chiefs want to sell their lands to other investors, they must value our cocoa trees and compensate us so that our labour and investments made in planting the cocoa should not go wastedPresident of New Juaben Corporative Cocoa Farmers Union
The Country Director of Cocoa Life Programme Mondelez International, Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, said the country’s land tenure system under which many of these cocoa farmers did not own the land that they cultivated but was in the hands of family heads or the chiefs was a very complex issue.
Mrs Amekudzi claimed that use of the tricycles was a milestone in their partnership with cocoa farmers, as enabled farmers to more easily carry wet beans from their farms to their homestead – a practice typically reserved for children, who Mrs Amekudzi said, could now return to school.