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Bad roads compel farmers to transport cocoa on carts and donkeys
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General News of Friday, 5 November 2010

Source: GNA

Bad roads compel farmers to transport cocoa on carts and donkeys

Benchemaa (W/R), Nov 5, GNA - Farmers in cocoa growing areas in Sefwi are compelled by the deplorable roads and broken down bridges to transport their cocoa on carts pulled by donkeys to cocoa depots for weighing.

Operators of the carts charge GHC4.50 for a bag of cocoa for half kilometer journey, 37-year-old cocoa farmer, Madam Akua Dematu, told journalists who chanced on her at Benchemaa when her three bags of cocoa were being transported to one of the depots for weighing. She said the system of transportation of cocoa was demoralizing but for the recent increase in cocoa price, most of them would have stopped farming.

The situation has resulted in the lock up of cocoa in villages in the area.

The journalists were accompanying the Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, on a three-day official tour of the Bia District to inspect the deplorable roads, ongoing as well as abandoned school projects, markets and health facilities.

The situation prompted the chiefs and people of the Bia District to appeal to the government to build all weather roads to facilitate the transportation of cocoa and foodstuffs to the urban centers. At separate durbars in their palaces in the various villages of the district, the chiefs expressed common concern about the deplorable road network which is impacting negatively on their economic activities. They said the free education had increased the intake and appealed for the construction of more classrooms in basic schools as well as for a secondary school in addition to the only one in the area. Among other infrastructural facilities needed in the area were hospitals, pipe borne water, construction of transformer and the offering of scholarships for their children.

The chiefs and people took a swipe at the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and complained that even though they contribute to the bulk of the nation's resources such as cocoa, coffee, cash crops, their children were often neglected in the granting of scholarships. Mr Aidoo said the government was not insensitive to their plight and that it was making efforts to address their concerns. He said for a start, funds had been secured to build a 43 kilometer road in the area but it has to go through bidding and other process before its construction which would be carried out in phases to ensure quality work done. In the interim maintenance work would be done on feeder roads after the rains had stopped. A bridge linking the Sefwi-Wiawso and Dwenase has caved in, cutting the people from the rest of the area.

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