Poor Roads locks tones of Cocoa in Amenfi Central

– as MP drags Minister to Parliament

THE poor state of roads in cocoa growing communities in Amenfi Central in the Western Region is said to be affecting cocoa production in the area.

Thousands of tonnes of cocoa beans are currently rotting in the bush due to their inability to cart the produce to the Takoradi harbour for exporting.

The stretch of the road from Bawdie to Asankragwa is 52 kilometres. It was awarded for construction under the previous government in 2015, but the road has been cut off completely following the collapsed of Bayire river bridge.

A journey from Bawdie to Asankragwa, which under normal circumstances should take less than an hour, now takes close to three hours and even then, you have to be fortunate to procure the services of a good vehicle to cart the goods

This however pushed Hon Peter Yaw Kwakye Ackah, Member of Parliament (MP) for the Amenfi Central, to dragged the Minister for Roads and Highways to parliament, last Friday July 6, to explain why the road is yet to receive face lift.

Trucks loans of cocoa beans enroutes to Takoradi are stuck in the forest due to the inaccessible nature of the roads, thereby affecting cocoa production in the region.

The MP said until the cocoa roads in the area are fixed, government would continue to lose revenue from cocoa production in the area

Posing two separate question to the Minister for Roads and Highways, Mr Ackah , said, “Mr Speaker, I rise to ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Bawdie to Asankragwa road will be resurfaced.?”

In the second question, the MP wanted to also know from the Minister, “when the construction of the Manso-Amenfi township roads will be awarded on contract.?

In response, the Minister for Roads and Highways, Mr Kwesi Amoako-Atta said, the 52km Bawdie – Asankragwa road is a trunk road of route number Route R123 is bituminous surfaced of fair to poor condition.

According to the Minister, currently, there are two on-going projects, namely Resealing of 5km Bawdie – Asankragwa road and the resealing of Bawdie – Asankragwa road which is also about 10 km.

The two ongoing project, he said are been financed from the Ghana Road Fund, stressing that, the stressing that, “the projects are at various stages of completion.The remaining 42.0km has been programmed for resealing in 2019.”

Mr Amoako-Atta explained that, “Sections that have deteriorated beyond resealing will be resurfaced. Resurfacing involves scarifying the existing bituminous surface, replenishing the road pavement with placement of new base course and re-applying bituminous seal.”

On the Manso-Amenfi road, the sector Minister said is no programme for the rehabilitation or upgrading of the Manso Amenfi Town Roads, but the Department of Feeder Roads has programmed to undertake Engineering Design studies on the town roads during the fourth quarter of 2018 for implementation when funds become available.
He however assured the MP of government commitment to ensuring that the district benefit roads to open the area for development.

But Hon Ackah told THE REPUBLIC , there is the need for immediate intervention by the government and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to shape the roads and repair collapsed bridges to ensure easy transportation to avert more lose of revenue from cocoa in the area.

He lamented that, without government intervention to upgrade the roads, evacuating cocoa from Amenfi Central and other heavy producing areas in the district for haulage to Takoradi for onward shipment would continue to be a problem.

Apart from cocoa, many of the communities produce tonnes of plantain, oil palm, cassava and other foodstuffs.

For that, Mr Ackah said currently the only option for the cocoa farmers was to women to carry on head to the nearest market, stating, “If nothing is done immediately, Ghana would lose more cocoa on farms.”

“I want to use this medium to appeal to the government and the COCOBOD, to turn their attention to Amenfi areas where cocoa farming cultivation still remains the major occupation of the people,” he stated.
The previous government commenced the Cocoa Roads Project, aimed at improving road networks in cocoa communities with the view to ensuring access to remote cocoa areas as well as creating a congenial environment to promote the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

Among other things, it was to solve the challenges associated with carting cocoa beans from the farm gates to buying centers and also to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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