The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has described the destruction of an estimated 33,000 rubber trees at the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited GREL as a setback in Ghana’s quest to improve agriculture as a means of producing for consumption and industry and also to create jobs.
The General Secretary of GAWU Edward Kareweh described the destruction of the rubber trees as not only an assault on GREL but an assault on the future of the country and must be condemned by all.
Mr Kareweh was speaking to journalists during a tour of GREL by GAWU to assess the extent of damage caused by the destruction of the rubber trees.
He said, “It’s not a challenge for the company but a challenge for all Ghanaians and the government must be on the forefront for finding the perpetrators and ensure that they are punished and make sure it is not repeated again. It is an assault on all Ghanaians and the economy as well.”
He also called on the security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of the destruction are found and prosecuted.
“Our laws are very clear about crime and the punishment is available, we think that those who are supposed to ensure that those who commit crime do not get away with it must do their work.”
“Sometimes when criminals get away with their crimes they become emboldened and think they can commit another crime again, the state must take action and apply all its security apparatus to ensure that those who committed this crime are arrested and punished appropriately.”
The Acting Factory Manager of GREL Mr Boafo Taylor said the company has also had to shut down its Tsibu processing plant temporarily as a result of the lack of raw materials and the infiltration of foreigners who are buying rubber and exporting them without Ghana benefiting. The plant which has a processing capacity of 113 tonnes of cup lumps per day is currently processing less rubber than it should.
Ghana’s trade policy allows individuals to buy and export rubber from the country without paying taxes and revenue to the government.
Mr Taylor explained the effect of the shutdown on the company and its staff and urged the government to intervene.
“This has brought hardship among our workers because they do not receive any more allowances when they work. Because of the shortage of this materials, we are not able to produce and this is a problem for us because the company has taken loans for production. We are urging the government to intervene.”
Meanwhile, the about 33,000 rubber trees that were destroyed on the 4th and 5th of July at Gyabenkrom have been replanted by the company.
Source: Rosaline Djan