The Chiefs and Landowners of Torgorme in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region are calling on the government to return to them the 17,000 hectares of land to enable them to engage in commercial farming.
According to them, the land was acquired by government under Legislative Instrument (LI) No 162 in 1975 from the chiefs and people of Torgorme and had not been used for the purpose for which it was taken.
“We wanted to put on record that to date no compensation has been paid for the acquired lands,” Mr Emmanuel Worlanyo Essoh, Chairman and spokesperson for the chiefs and people has disclosed.
Addressing a press conference on Friday at Torgorme, he said the landowners had not benefited anything even “we the smallholder farmers don’t get a place to farm now.”
According to him, the land, under the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP) was being used by Ghana-Millennium Development Agency (MiDA) and Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) to go into commercial farming.
Mr Essoh noted that now that the project had come to an end, “the new investors are not willing to offer us the smallholder farmers the land to do farming to improve our livelihoods.”
“We therefore, took the matter to court and judgment was delivered in favour of the landowners on December 2008 at Koforidua High Court,” he added.
This, notwithstanding, the Lands Commission continued to exercise authority on all Torgorme lands, allocating the lands to such investors like Vegpro, Goshen Farms without any input from the Torgorme Traditional Area.
“Since August 2021, all attempts to get allocation for our 1,500 smallholder farmers have proved futile.
We have also reported the matter to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to intervene but nothing was done.”
“So all that we are demanding from the government is to give back our lands so that we would do individual farming to improve our living conditions,” Mr Essoh stated.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for North Tongu District, Osborne Divine Fenu when contacted said he came to meet the issues but was doing everything possible to ensure it was resolved as soon as possible.
FROM KAFUI GATI, TORGORME