The Chief and the people of Assin-Wurakese in the Assin-Fosu Municipality of the Central Region, have reclaimed a 450-acre land leased to COCOBOD some 40 years ago for the establishment of a Cocoa Research Station.
The vexed Chief, Professor Nana Okogyeaman Dankwa Ameyaw Kokroko II, said they are taking back the land leased to COCOBOD since 1975 for the latter’s failure to meet the terms of their agreement.
According to Nana Ameyaw Kokroko II, the agreement signed between the institution and the chiefs of the community was such that COCOBOD would to possess the land for 40 years.
“They [COCOBOD] were expected to pay royalties to the people annually per the agreement, but 47 years after acquiring the land, no royalty has been paid to the chiefs” said Nana Ameyaw Kokroko II.
He noted that the institution had also promised−as part of its corporate social responsibility−to provide the community with facilities including market, school, clinic, police station and to religiously rehabilitate a 17 km road which connects Wurakese to the Cocoa research station. However, not a single of the promises has been fulfilled.
All attempts to get the attention of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and COCOBOD to respond to the situation, he noted, has proven futile hence they are left with no option but to repossess the land.
The Chief also served notice to COCOBOD to pay all the accumulated cash royalties for the 40-year period of the land lease agreement and also demanded accountability for all the revenue accrued since 2016 when the agreement expired.
Some of the agitated youth supported the traditional leaders for their decision to take over the cocoa plantation since it will inure to the benefit of the community.
A woman said “since they took over the land, no authority has employed a single person from the community to work to earn a living from there.”
Another lamented “if you look at the children’s conditions and where the school is located, it is pathetic. If you should go and survey the market now too, you will appreciate how it is.”
“If the chiefs have taken the decision to reclaim the land, it means the time is due.”
Meanwhile, the Head of Wurakese Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Mr Prince Mensah has pledged to relay the concerns to the management of CRIG for an amicable resolution.
“There is nothing that goes on here that doesn’t reach management’s desk. We would not be surprised to see them organise themselves and show up here. So we hope that the management will come and meet with the chiefs and solve this issue amicably.