Chief declares war against cocoa smugglers
Nana Aforo Kwaw II, Chief of Sefwi-Debiso, in the Western Region, has declared war on cocoa smuggling and "vowed to forcibly seize farms on the Debiso stool lands" whose owners are caught in the illegal act. He said proceeds from the seized farms would be put into a special fund to support the education of brilliant but needy pupils and students from the area.
Nana Kwaw was addressing a farmers forum held by the Adwumapa Buyers Limited, a licensed cocoa buying company at Debiso in the Juabeso-Bia District. The hard-line position taken by the chief comes in the wake of growing public concern about the upsurge of cocoa smuggling across the frontiers of the country. Ghana is believed to have lost 60,000 tonnes of cocoa through smuggling between January and June this year.
Nana Kwaw said he has already informed the police about the decision, adding that, the "bad name given to the area as a major smuggling corridor could no longer be accepted." He said there were credible reports that even cocoa purchased and stored in depots in the area were being smuggled to Cote d'Ivoire by some unscrupulous purchasing clerks and indicated that he would mobilise the unit committees and other volunteers to crush the smugglers.
Mr Kofi Asare, Finance and Administrative Manager of Adwumapa, said it was an irony that people who are crying for improved social facilities like schools, roads, water and hospitals should by their acts deny the nation of the needed income. He said there should be greater co-operation between the public and the security agencies to fight against cocoa smuggling.
Mr Asare told the farmers to reciprocate government's efforts at helping to improve their lot through the mass spraying of cocoa farms, bonus payment and periodic upward review of cocoa prices to expand and maintain their farms and market their produce internally.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Benjamin Armah, reminded them that it was only Ghanaians themselves who could turn the fortunes of the country and for that matter, must be hardworking and loyal to the nation.