Cocoa farmers in the Western North Region have called on the government and stakeholders to amend the Concession Act 1962 (Act 124) to ensure that farmers receive reasonable benefits from the commercialization of off-reserve timber resources.
These farmers, with support from TROPENBOS Ghana, emphasized the importance of addressing existing tree tenure and benefits-sharing arrangements, which currently act as a disincentive for farmers engaging in climate change mitigation strategies.
Mr. Boakye Twumasi Ankra, the Project Manager of TROPENBOS Ghana, spoke on behalf of the farmers, highlighting the need for urgent steps by the Forestry Commission to rectify the situation and enhance tree cover in off-reserve areas.
“The Concession Act 1962 (Act 124) gives the state authority over all naturally occurring trees, which is not motivative enough for farmers to genuinely nurture the trees on their farms,” Mr. Ankra explained in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.
He further pointed out that the Act takes away tree ownership rights from farmers, leaving them with minimal control. “The only right the farmer has is to give written consent to the harvesting of specified trees on their farms with no direct financial benefit from revenue accrued from such trees.”
Mr. Ankra urged stakeholders to take steps to amend the law, allowing farmers to benefit directly from the trees they nurture on their farms.