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General News of Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Source: GNA

Farmers threaten to take back their land

Kumasi, Feb. 20, GNA - A group of farmers at Nkwanta Kesse near Offinso, in the Afigya Sekyere District have made an appeal to the government to ensure that the appropriate crop and land compensation were paid to them by the Ghana Water Company (GWC).

They threatened that if by the end of February, the due cooperation was not paid, they will clear the land to do their farming.

Speaking to Ghana News Agency, (GNA), in an interview in Kumasi on Wednesday, Mr. Mathias Amoako, spokesperson for the group at Nkwanta Kesse, explained that somewhere in 1997, the Ghana Water Company, (GWC), took some acres of land from some farmers for the construction of the Barekese Dam, an arrangement to compensate the affected farmers. He said somewhere around 1999, some of the farmers were given 50% part payment of the compensation, that was due them at that time. Mr. Amoako further explained that, the rest of the crop compensation was given to the farmers on Wednesday the 20th of February this year, and the same value of the lands payment in 1997 was given to them, without considering that the price of land have now shot up. "The price and value of land have gone up from 1997 to date, and therefore, the payment must also increase", he noted.

He stated that the farmers now feel cheated and therefore called on the G.W.C and the Land Valuation Board (LVB), to revise their decision to pay them the appropriate compensation that is due them.

When GNA talked to one Madam Mary Tabi, a farmer, she confirmed that ten acres of her land was taken from her and she was given GH¢38 in 1999 as part payment of compensation, adding that, GWC again gave her the same GH¢38 in February 2008 as the rest of the compensation. Another 80-year-old farmer, Madam Akosua Kwakye also gave a similar explanation. She said, she was given an amount of GH¢11.7 in 1999 and the same amount of money has been given to her this year.

When GWC was contacted by GNA for their version of the story, Mr. Augustine Dayuor, the Estate Officer of GWC, stated that the assessment was done by L.V.B, some years back and was forwarded by Ministry of Finance, then to the Auditor Generals Office and later to the GWC. He affirmed that in November last year, the money was released for payment, adding that GWC is not responsible for the low payment but are only facilitators of the payment.

Mr. Dayuor confirmed that the money was paid in installments, thus, 50% has already been paid.

He therefore advised the farmers to write a petition to the L.V.B for their grievances to be addressed. 2

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