The Torgorme Traditional Authority in the North Tongu District has called on the government and authorities to release about 15000 acres of land under the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP).
This, according to the Authority, will enable farmers to engage in commercial farming and export high-value crops which will lessen the hardship in the area.
The smallholder farmers under the KLBIP or Torgorme Irrigation Project made the call during a press conference on Monday to drum home their grievances.
Chairman of the Group, Emmanuel Worlanyo Essoh noted that it is unacceptable the manner in which the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) is defiantly ignoring the allocation of irrigation farmlands under the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project to smallholder farmers.
Mr. Essoh said it has become necessary for the group to put pressure on GCAP to fulfill the aims and objectives of the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP).
Mr. Essoh said for the past five years, their hopes of returning the farms have been dashed leading to anxiety, frustration, hardship, poverty and destitution among the local population.
“Our people now struggle and fight among themselves over little patches of lands outside the project command area for small farming activities which also makes it impossible for men to provide for their families with some losing control over their wives and children in some cases. Also, death has become commonplace in our communities,” he lamented.
The Youth President for the area, Johnson Megbeawotor said the cultivation of high-value crops for which over 15000 farmers from 22 communities have been trained, has become a mirage.
Mr. Megbeawotor noted that since 2021 when they first relinquished their lands for the development of the project, they have been left jobless.
“Our farmers are now seen as encroaches and trouble makers on their own lands and whenever they venture to farm within the lands of the Torgorme traditional area, they are chased away by so-called foreigners and banana investors,” Johnson Megbeawotor lamented.
He added that lands set aside as buffers and grazing grounds for the rearing of animals are now being allocated to investors.
“How are the people of Torgorme going to survive on their lands that they have fought for with their blood before settling there?,” he quizzed.
The Mankralo of the Torgorme traditional area, Torgbui Didi IV called on the government to make GCAP cease the allocation of lands without reference to the Land Acquisition Committee which has been entrusted to do the allocations.
The Torgome Traditional Authority wants all persons who benefited from such clandestine land allocation to cease further entry to the allocated lands.
Also, they want the name Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project to be changed to Torgorme Irrigation Project because the project is located in Torgorme traditional area in the North Tongu District.
Finally, the Torgorme Area Co-operative Union has given GCAP an ultimatum of five days to respond to their demands and also allocate not less than one-acre farmland to each of the 1500 smallholder farmers.
In addition, they are demanding a thorough audit of the KLBIP by an independent auditor in view of the fact that the work done appears shoddy and some places are left uncompleted despite the huge World Bank loan interventions.
The DCE for North Tongu District, Osborne Divine Fenu when contacted on phone said the government is committed to making sure that the grievances of the people are attended to.