Cocoa farmers in Western North call for reforms in off-reserve timber resources

Cocoa farmers in the Western North Region are demanding immediate steps to amend the Concession Act 1962 (Act 124) to ensure farmers receive reasonable benefit from proceeds accrued from the commercialization of off-reserve timber resources.

Project Manager, TROPENBOS Ghana, Boakye Twumasi Ankra, on behalf of the farmers, explained that the Concession Act 1962 (Act 124) gave the state authority over all naturally occurring trees, which was not motivative enough for farmers to genuinely nurture the trees on their farms

The planting or nurturing of trees and timber resources forms part of a major climate change mitigation strategies for most farmers, but existing tree tenure and benefits sharing arrangements for off-reserve timber resources had been a great disincentive to the farmers.

With support from TROPENBOS Ghana, they called on the Forestry Commission to take urgent steps to address the situation to improve tree cover in off-reserve areas, and help combat climate change, while enhancing sustainability.

Mr Twumasi Ankra who was speaking at a sensitisation programme for more than 300 farmers in region, noted with concern, the deprivation and forcible seizure of the tree ownership rights from farmers.

“The only right the farmer has is to give written consent to the harvesting of specified trees on their farms with no direct financial benefit from revenue accrued from such trees.”

Mr Ankra, therefore, urged stakeholders to initiate steps to amend the law to help farmers benefit directly from trees on their farms.

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