GNA – Cocoa Farmers at Agona Abodom in the Agona West Municipality of the Central region have appealed to the National Security and Bureau of the National Investigations (BNI) to rescue them from rampant stealing of their fresh cocoa beans.
Mr Emmanuel Kwame Nkrumah, Assemblyman made this known at the floor of the General Assembly meeting of the Agona West Assembly at Agona Swedru.
Mr Nkrumah, who is a Member of the Development Planning Sub-Committee of the Agona West said the situation posed serious threats to the national economy, because most of the young cocoa farmers were losing interest.
The Assemblyman said the thieves conducted their activities in the night and days that farmers by tradition do not visit their farms.
The Assemblyman said the matter had been reported to the chiefs of Agona Abodom and Agona Abodom Police but, they were yet to effect any arrest in that regard.
Mr Nkrumah said many of young boys who had been arrested and handed over to Agona Abodom Police could not be prosecuted since they were minors.
According to the Assemblyman, farmers through their own investigations had identified some group of elderly people in town who had consistently bought the fresh cocoa beans.
He further stated that the chiefs of Agona Abodom have lost hope and confidence in tracking down those saboteurs and called on the national security and BNI to intervene to salvage cocoa farmers from the menace.
He said it was impossible for cocoa farmers to hire watchmen into their farms in the night and days that they do not go to farm adding that if some of the culprits and buyers were arrested and prosecuted it would put some fear into them to serve as deterrent to others.
Mr Nkrumah said investigations conducted had revealed that all Cocoa Licensing Buying Companies (LBCSs) at Agona Abodom were not involved in the illicit trading, but some group of people in the town.
Mr Francis Abban, Chairman of the Development Planning Sub-committee of the Assembly and Assembly man for Agona Nyakrom appealed to the Agona West Assembly to endeavour to flash out those nation wreckers.
He said it was important for the Assembly to collaborate with the Security Agencies to come to the aid of the cocoa farmers at Abodom and other town to reduce the menace.
Mr Abban said that many young boys had decided to go into cocoa cultivation in the Municipality but that situation could easily discourage them from the venture.
The Sub-Committee Chairman said the planning for food and jobs and one district one factory policies rolled out by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have inspired and encouraged young graduates to go into farming .
He appealed to the security heads and others to take up the matter seriously, since the farmers were helpless and discouraged due to rampant stealing of their fresh cocoa beans.