Ghanaian cocoa farmers at Elubo who farm across the Tano River have complained of being accosted at gun point by some Ivorian para-military forces when ferrying their harvests inland.
These officers, they call rebels, often demand monies and cocoa from them thereby causing them to operate at a loss.
One of the victims, Efo, who is a boat operator as well, told 3news.com that two gun-wielding rebels called him into their camp and asked him to declare his products.
They later asked him to pay 2000 CFA or they seize his cocoa.
Efo said several pleas to them to reduce the amount fell on deaf ears.
He continued that he was held hostage for about 5 hours [from 2pm-6pm] until he paid the money while about five of the loaded cocoa also taken.
Another affected farmer is the chief farmers at Alebuale, Francis Kwasi.
He told our reporter that he once confronted one of the rebels to stop the act since it could lead to a misunderstanding between the two neighbouring countries but the rebel replied that he has tasted several wars in Cote d’Ivoire and he was therefore not afraid if their action led to a misunderstanding between the two countries.
He again mentioned that several letters written to authorities to act on the matter is yet to yield any positive result, adding that they are now traumatized when going to their farms.
Elubo, which is a border community located in the Jomoro District of the Western Region, serves as one of the highest cocoa growing areas in the country.
Several of the cocoa lands are located at the banks of the Tano River, which also serves as a boundary between Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire.
With no access road leading to these farms, farmers have no option than to carry their dried cocoa from the banks of the River before ferrying them in canoes to Elubo.
But some Ivorian para-military forces known as Force Republican de Cote d’Ivoire [FRC], who are believed to have been involved in the recent conflict in Ivory Coast, have now pitched camps at the banks of the Tano River.
These rebels often extort as much as 2,000 CFA from the farmers or seize their cocoa beans at gun point. Farmers who prove difficult at times are beaten.
This unfortunate situation, according to the farmers, has been in existence for years now without any proper solution.
Meanwhile, the 2020 National Best Farmer, Solomon Kwadwo Kusi, popularly known as Kojo Liberia, an indigene of the area, has been championing a crusade for a lasting solution to the situation.
He has requested for the construction of road to the cocoa farms as well as a patrol on the River by marine police.