The Chiefs and people of Old Ankasa in the Jomoro Municipality of the Western Region have made a passionate appeal to government to as a matter of urgency, construct the road from Sowodadzem junction to Ankasa forest through Amokwawsuazo to enable them transport their farm produce easily to the market.
The Ankasa Conservation Area is an area in south-western Ghana, about 365 kilometers west of Accra near the border with Côte d’Ivoire.
The park is approximately 500 square kilometers, and consists largely of tropical evergreen rain forest.
The Ankasa Conservation Area is the only wildlife protected area in Ghana which is located in the wet evergreen tropical high rain forest belt.
The Ankasa, Nini, and Suhien Rivers all pass through the park, and are known for their rapids and waterfalls.
The forest has the most biological diversity of any kind in Ghana, with over 800 vascular plant species, 639 butterfly species, and more than 190 bird species.
Animal life includes the elephant, bongo, leopard, chimpanzee, Diana monkey, and other primates.
These communities are endowed with cash crops such as cocoa, coconut, rubber, plantain, cassava, yam among other crops, which can potentially propel the areas' development, but the poor road network is disincentive to development partners.
A visit to the communities by GhanaWeb, revealed that the residents depend largely on motorcycles for transportation.
The people complained about the deplorable state of the road network linking Sowodadzem junction, Amokwawsuazo, Paradise, Fire, Frenchman and Old Ankasa, lamenting that the poor state of this road was contributing a great deal to post-harvest losses in these areas.
The deplorable state of this road network has compelled commercial vehicles to abandon these communities thereby impacting negatively on the local economy as farmers and traders are left stranded and food crops left to rot on farms.
Market women and inhabitants of these farming communities are the hardest hit by this situation since vehicles conveying their goods are not prepared to go to the farms due to the deplorable nature of the road.
The situation, GhanaWeb.com further gathered, compels some tourists not to visit the Ankasa Forest for tourism and has also reduced revenue collection for the country.
They made the appeal through www.ghanaweb.com in an interview on Tuesday, August 28, 2018.
At Old Ankasa, a resident who is also the P.T.A Chairman of the community, Mr. Charles Kyeremeh is worried the communities have not developed socio-economically over the years as a result of the deplorable state of the road.
He explained to GhanaWeb that the road network had deteriorated from bad to worse with the onset of the rainy season.
He said the bad state of the roads linking these communities had compelled some tax drivers who sometimes try to use the road to charge unapproved fares thereby making life unbearable to the people.
Mr. Kyeremeh said the situation had made it difficult to send their farm produce to Sowodadzem, Elubo, Tikobo No.1 and Nzema Aiyinasi market centres.
He also added that the situation has affected sick and pregnant women during labour most of whom are only put on motorcycles before the person can get a vehicle at Elubo junction.
He, therefore, appealed to government to as a matter of urgency, construct the road to improve the living conditions of the people in the communities.
"We are suffering here, the road network here is in a very deplorable state and here is where you find the virgin forest, this is the Ankasa Forest but successive governments have failed to construct the road linking this beautiful forest and nowadays tourists don't come here because of the road network but we want to use this great opportunity to appeal to the government to come to our aid", he lamented.
One cocoa farmer who spoke to the reporter also complained bitterly about the poor nature of their road, fuming, "we voted for NDC and NPP with the hope that our roads would be tarred but till date we have not heard anything from them" and queried, "Have they forgotten us so soon and it seems we are not part of Ghana?".
Other challenges facing Old Ankasa
The P.T.A Chairman of the area, Mr. Charles Kyeremah said the community doesn't have any place of convenience, a situation which has compelled residents to ease themselves in the bush and therefore appealed to government to construct a toilet facility for them.
He also decried the lack of potable water in the area and pleaded with government to come to their aid.
He spoke on the health situation in the community and revealed that the community doesn't have any health facility, let alone, a drug store.
He said patients have to walk so many kilometers to Sowodadzem, before accessing health care facilities and appealed to government to as a matter of urgency, come to their aid.
Mr. Kyeremeh seized the opportunity to appeal to government to provide them with communication network for them to have access to information and be in tune with local and global issues.
"We don't have any communication network here and we can't make calls and whenever we want to make calls we have to go and climb trees before we can make calls and we are begging the government to help us, we are suffering too much", he appealed.
The visit also revealed that the Ankasa Conservation Area lacks staff and some residents of the area have appealed to government to recruit more staff to beef up security at the forest.
They also used the opportunity to appeal to the Ministry of Tourism to develop the Forest to attract more tourists to the area to boost the local economy.