A Technical Officer of the Forestry Commission at Begoro in the Eastern Region has gone on rampage destroying over 40 acre Plantain farm belonging to a farmer at Besebuom near Begoro in the Eastern Region.
The destroyed farm had reached fruiting and near harvesting stage.
The farm was part of hundreds of acres of bare forest land ravaged by wildfire last year and cultivated by several farmers in the Besebuom Community.
According to the Community, they applied to Forestry Commission through the Technical officer to cultivate on the bare forest land under the National Forest Plantation Development project (NFPDP) which was granted, therefore surprised over the destruction of the farm having provided him with goats and food stuffs as a thank you token.
The NFPDP program introduced by the Forestry commission and launched in 2001 aims at ensuring that forest cover for degraded forest lands, create employment for forest-fringe communities and also ensure the availability of timber.
The program ensures that farmers get 100 per cent of the food produced on degraded forest lands, get 40 percent share in the timber revenues in return for their contribution to tree planting, maintenance and protection.
Other benefits include the creation of climate-smart landscapes, the alleviation of the scarcity of farmlands and improving the livelihood of participating farmers.
A famer whose 40 acre plantain farm has been destroyed, Bashiru Joseph tells Kasapa News, he took a Ghc25,000 loan to invest in the farm hence likely to be dragged to court for defaulting the loan payment.
According to the farmer, he was on admission at a hospital in Somanya after undergoing hernia surgery when the forestry officer invaded and destroyed his farm.
He said, the decision taken by the forestry officer is a breach of the agreement the community has with the Commission and also defeats the purpose of planting for food and jobs policy because the area is a food basket for many markets in Ghana therefore called on President Akuffo Addo to come to the aid of farmers in the area.
But a Technical Forest Officer who only gave his name as Nartey disputes claim by the affected farmer that the land was released to him by the Forestry Commission .
According to him, most farmers in the community have cultivated on the forest land illegally therefore risk loosing all their produce in the coming days.
The Begoro District Manager Manager of Forestry Commission, Mr. Michael Oteng said on the records of the commission no farmer has been granted the right to farm on the bare forest land.