Cocoa farmers at Nanakrom in the Jomoro Municipality of the Western Region have appealed to the government and COCOBOD to earmark their road under the cocoa roads project to improve access to the area.
They believed that a good road would not only boost the cocoa economy, but, also save farmers from the harassment they suffered from the hands of Ivorian border security personnel anytime they hauled cocoa beans through River Tano to Elubo depots.
The 5,000 Nanakrom settlements, which began in 1982, about three kilometres to Gyegyekrom, off the Elubo-Takoradi highway, have 3,000 cocoa farmers who produce about 15,000 bags of cocoa per season. They also cultivate variety of foods crops including maize, cassava, plantain, and coconut. They also fish in River Ankobra.
They complained to the Ghanaian Times that poor and inaccessible road networks in the area have been one major challenge they faced in helping improve agricultural production, increasing income and boosting the cocoa economy.
In 2019, the cocoa farmers in Nanakrom through the initiatives and collaboration of 2018 national best tree crop farmer, Mr Solomon K. Kusi, the Krontihene of Japekrom and Acting President of the Traditional Council, Nana Amoabeng Asare and the former assembly member of Elubo West, David Andoh, have completed the construction of a six- kilometer feeder road up to the bank of River Tano.
This is to ease the burden of transporting cocoa beans and other agricultural produce to marketing centres at Elubo.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times after a road inspection on Friday, Mr Kusi, also known as Kojo Liberia, revealed the plight of cocoa farmers at Nanakrom and mentioned the ordeal the community faced especially in the hands of Ivorian border security.
He added the ordeal farmers endured during peak season was a major drawback to cocoa production in the area.
He explained that due to the bad and inaccessible road network in the area through to the Takoradi- Elubo highway, cocoa farmers had to detour through River Tano on canoes and connect to Cocoa Town before getting to buying centres at Elubo to transact their business.
He said since there were no readily available means of transport to Elubo cocoa farmers were forced to use the Ivorian riverine side at a higher price.
“These are hardworking cocoa farmers who contribute so much to cocoa production and the cash economy. But, they go through so many ordeals especially as they connect through RiverAnkobra on the Ivorian side before getting to Elubo. Sometimes, the Ivorian border security will cease your cocoa beans; it means you have sweated for nothing and also lost ‘the fruits of your labour.” he said.
He added “We have paved the six-kilometre road with our own resources to reduce the pain and sufferings of cocoa farmers. Indeed, since cocoa is one mainstay of Nanakrom, the Jomoro municipality and that of the national economy, we believe that our appeal to government and COCOBOD will receive an urgent attention. We need their support to complete the rest of the 2.5 kilometres to River Tano to ease the burden of cocoa farmers in this area.”
According to a community leader Nana Awusi Adinkra, cocoa production would not be boosted in the areas so long as farmer continued to carry produce on their heads to buying centres
Former Assembly member for Elubo West Moses Andoh, believed that cocoa farmers in Nanakrom had suffered for long and argued that “the time has come for us to get a fair share of the national cake.”
portion of the six kilometer road constructed by Nanakrom community. Pics 3&4 2018 national best tree crop farmer, Mr Solomon Kusi(second left) with community leaders to inspect the road. Far rt is Nana Awusi Adinkra Pic 52018 national best tree crop farmer, Mr Solomon Kusi(behind) with others on road inspection pics 6 cocoa plantation.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, NANAKROM