…Says Bad Roads Affecting Living Conditions In Constituency
The deplorable condition of roads in the Enchi District and surrounding communities in the Aowin constituency in the Western Region is adversely affecting living conditions, as transportation of farm produce to marketing centers in the district is almost impossible.
Most of the roads are not passable and they are mostly of unpaved surface, narrow width and with low quality bridges.
In most cases, they are characterized by potholes and hardly passable during the rainy season when vehicles get stuck in mud.
The situation has led to low incomes for the farmers, poverty, low production and the migration of the youth to other areas of the country.
This came to light when The Republic caught up with Hon. Mathias Ntow, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Aowin constituency, in parliament last week.
He told the paper exclusively that, the fear of wasting the farm produce as a result of the deplorable roads had forced the farmers in the constituency to grow limited amounts of crops that they can take to the market due to long hours of transporting them, especially the perishables that can easily get spoilt.
The inability of farmers to market their farm produce means lack of adequate income for production inputs and to expand production. This challenge has greatly affected these rural farmers, and, as a result, they can barely meet their immediate requirements and healthcare, as well as educate their children.
Mr. Ntow noted that many of the roads leading to farming communities in the Aowin constituency are not passable, especially after rainfall, stating that the roads are so bad that even commuters refuse to go and when they agree the fare is very high.
He mentioned that the 70-km trunk road from Enchi to Elubo and the 40-km road from Enchi to Dadieso, which serve as major routes linking the Aowin constituency to other parts of the Western Region are all economic roads, but are in bad condition.
The Enchi-Elubo road, according to Mr. Ntow, forms part of the Western Corridor roads and also serves as an access link route of the Elubo-Abidjan, under the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) road.
The Enchi-Dadieso road, on the other hand, is under the Cocoa growing area roads project, which started in 2015, under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
Other farming roads under the Feeder Roads Department of the Ministry of Roads and Highways include Enchi-Kwadjor road, Enchi-Sewum road, Sewum-Motoso road, Enchi-Motoso road and Motoso-Yakasi roads.
These roads, the MP said, are important roads to the predominantly cocoa farmers in the constituency, adding that, the bad nature of the roads had led to many post-harvest losses and posed severe economic problems to the people of Aowin.
He explained that, farmers who took loans for farming are currently facing difficulties to pay back, as most of their farm produce got destroyed in farmlands due to the inaccessibility of roads to market centres.
In addition to that, Mr. Ntow said, the activities of illegal miners, popularly known as galamseyers, have also polluted water bodies, making farmers abandoning their farms due to unavailability of potable drinking water.
“The pollution of our rivers, including River Tano, River Boi, and other streams, is affecting farming. Farmers could not get water to even spray pesticide and other chemicals to their farms.”
“All these are as a result of the menace of galamsey. The galamsey is affecting everything in our constituency, farmlands have all been destroyed and the farmers could not go to their farms because, they cannot access drinking water while in the farms,” the MP lamented.
The situation, he added, has put some farmers in financial difficulties as they struggle to pay back loans they procured from banks and other financial institutions to farm and repay.
With these challenges, Mr. Ntow said, there was urgent need for the government through the Ministry of Roads and Highways to prioritised most of the roads in the constituency and speed up with construction to save farmers from losing more of their produce.
Besides the poor nature of roads and the lack of access to drinking water, the MP also decried unavailability of educational facilities in the constituency, stating that, the neglect of the district by successive governments was becoming too much to bear.
He further intimated that it was disheartening that governments in the past have done nothing about his area, though the country derives huge revenue from his region through agriculture.
Fuming with anger, the Aowin legislator expressed worry about the teeming unemployed youth in the constituency, decline in food crop farming, smuggling of fertiliser and cocoa beans to neighbouring Ivory Coast, deplorable state of roads and the only senior high school in his constituency.
The only senior high school, Mr. Ntow, said also lacks a dining hall, computer laboratory, a dormitory and teachers’ common room, among other necessary facilities, stressing that the situation has led to some students travelling far distances to access education.
On health, he said the constituency is blessed with about 10 health facilities, including two CHIP Compounds, being benefits through the 10% deduction from the salaries of former government officials and appointees.
While asking the people to remain patient, the Aowin lawmaker assured the constituents that he will do all that he can to bring hope to them by ensuring that their bad roads are well constructed, as well as other infrastructural facilities, like model schools, clinic and potable water.
He said road transport is regarded as an important factor involved in agricultural development all over the world and the only means by which food produced at farm sites is moved to different homes, as well as markets.
“The Aowin constituency and a district is one of the major producers of cocoa, cassava, maize and plantain in the Western Region. I want to use this medium to appeal to the Ministry of Roads and Highways, and the government of the day to come to the rescue,” he stated.
The contract for some of the roads, the MP said, had been awarded to Eagle Star Company years back, but nothing has been done.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba