Kadjebi, Oti Region — Palm tree fallers in the Kadjebi District of the Oti Region are appealing to the government for support in obtaining subsidised modern tools to enhance their efficiency and keep their business sustainable.
The fallers highlight the need for machinery capable of uprooting a palm tree within 5-7 minutes, as opposed to the time-consuming process of using the traditional axe.
Expressing their concerns, Mr. Francis Quarshie Najombe, a 30-year-old palm tree feller, emphasized the time and energy wasted using an axe, which takes between 20-25 minutes to uproot a single palm tree.
While acknowledging that palm tree felling is a lucrative venture, Mr Najombe argues that the outdated tools hinder their revenue potential in the face of increasing human needs.
Starting his palm tree felling career at the age of 13, Mr Najombe currently charges GH¢15 per tree, with others charging GH¢20.
He estimates that weather permitting, he can fell 10 palm trees per day, but on less favourable days, the number drops to five.
The use of antiquated tools has contributed to a decline in interest in the profession among the youth.
“Palm tree fallers are leaving the job because of the old devices being used,” Mr. Najombe stated. He believes that the introduction of a new, more efficient tool could attract more individuals to the profession.
“Palm tree feller” Pastor Kwame also expressed the impact of climate change on their work, noting that soil texture in some areas hampers the felling process. Instead of the usual 15-20 minutes to uproot a tree, it now takes close to 40 minutes due to soil conditions.
Considering the challenges they face, some fallers are contemplating quitting the profession.
However, they express willingness to stay if the government provides assistance in the form of modern tools.
The lack of association among fallers is also identified as an issue, with the formation of an association seen as a way to establish uniform fees and strengthen their collective position.