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Opinions of Thursday, 11 July 2013

Columnist: Alabani, Kassim

The Farmers who got punished.

A real hike through many of the cocoa farming communities in Ghana reveals large pockets of farmers who got punished for contributing to the national economy. It is statistically correct that the average cocoa output in Ghana has been increasing since 2000. This increasing output definitely means some farmers are doing well and putting in more energy. If we are to accurately calibrate our Goss Domestic Product (GDP), the cocoa sub-sector will claim a significant share. Worryingly, these hardworking, non striking workers are suffering a tide of adversity for no crime.

Any scrupulous cataloging will bring to the fore the various degrees of ills in which our noble farmers have been trapped- in. One will expect that such an important producer group will have a better attention when it comes to sharing the national cake. But alas! This is not the case. The candour of the matter is that over 60% of cocoa farmers in Ghana are denied quality basic education to their children; just for choosing to be cocoa farmers. Schools in many cocoa farming communities lacks the basic infrastructure needed to qualify a school. They lack teachers, syllabi and many other teaching and learning materials. Now government has a policy to encourage Science and Mathematics education yet many rural students cannot get the foundation they require to study Science. For a fact, children in our cocoa farming communities are very far from coming close to getting quality education in its canonical status.

When it comes to access to health services, the least talk about it the better. It is a few lucky communities that have got Chp compounds but not clinics nor hospitals.

There has been a talk of a housing policy for cocoa farmers since 1990, yet not much has been achieved. The houses of our cocoa farmers suggest a neglected and abonden refregee settlement that has no or little management. Yet they remain the "back bone of our economy"; a song policy makers have been singing.

The situation in our cocoa farming communities obviously depicts a country that cannot afford anything better for its people, indeed a critically poor country almost on the verge of collapse.

Astonishingly, our politicians go with such a luxury that takes them almost out of our economy. They seem to belong to a different economy if not a world of their own. All that we see and hear is chicanery, casuistry, encomiums, taking mulches and diddling.

By

Alabani, Kassim B. A (Tamale), M.Sc. (Cape Coast) Ghana,

Tel + 233 207352420

Email: kassimalabani@yahoo.com

P. O. Box 5 Bisco- TL Tamale, Ghana.