There was a huge sigh of relief at the end of over four hours of frank exchanges between representatives of fishermen, officials of Kete KrachiTimber Recovery Limited, and the Kwahu South District Security Council (DISEC) at Mpraeso, when the various parties agreed to coexist, live in harmony and work together for their mutual benefit.
Held on the initiative of Kwahu South DISEC under the chairmanship of Mr. Emmanuel Attah Ofori, District Chief Executive, the stakeholder consultation provided an opportunity for the fisherman to register the cause of their agitation against operations of Kete Krachi Timber Recovery on the Lake Volta, which also serves as the source of their fishing occupation.
After thorough exchanges between the groups, which included the National and Local leadership of the National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council, it emerged that a number of the issues agitating the minds of Bamboo fishermen were misconceptions and not as they had assumed – including the allegation that trees in the Volta Lake were being uprooted, whereas they were being cut and leaving the root/stem.
It also emerged from the discussion that the SHARC equipment used for cutting trees in the Lake is constructed such that it does not have the capacity to cut smaller trees, and uses a special Panolin fuel imported from Canada and the USA that is environmentally-friendly and does not pollute the river/lake.
A day after the meeting, members of the DISEC, heads of the fishermen and officials from the Assembly led by the District Chief Executive visited the current operations-site of KKTR on the lake to have a first-hand view of how the dead wood is harvested – which threw more light on how safe and environmentally-friendly the KKTR operations are.
The DCE, Mr. Attah Ofori, said with what had been discussed and seen with the eye, there is no longer reason for any fisherman to harbour any idea of disrupting or preventing the KKTR from carrying out its legitimate activities – which are to the benefit of both the local fishing communities and the nation.
The Odikro of Nketepa, Nana Kwabena Obeng, said the meeting had been most fruitful as it removed a number of the misperceptions on the impact of KKTR on fishing from their minds, while Mr. Gideon Prempeh – the Kwahu South District Chief Fisherman – called for more of such interactions to promote a healthy relationship between fishers and the KKTR.
Mr. Kwame Antwi- Adjei, Technical Adviser at the One District, One Factory (1D1F) Secretariat, said the KKTR is a unique company with enormous contributions to the state that was inaugurated in November 2018 by His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as a 1D1F, and must be encouraged by all to attain its lofty objectives.
On his part, Mr. Jacob Tetteh Ageke, President of the National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council, said in order that KKTR operates within the terms of agreement between the two entities, a representative of the NICFC has been placed permanently on the boat (SHARC) to ensure strict compliance by the KKTR.
Mr. Kweku Sersah-Johnson, a Communication Specialist, and Ali Marnah-Operations Manager of KKTR, both expressed the company’s gratitude to the DISEC, especially the District Chief Executive and NICFC, for bringing an end what they described as unnecessary rivalry and hostility between a section of fishermen and the company.
The Keta Krachi Timber Recovery Limited is a wholly Ghanaian-owned subsidiary of Dedeso Holdings, with a concession from the state to harvest tree stumps from the Volta Lake and bring safety to lake transport and fishing.
Other representatives at the meeting included the District Policy Commander, Richard Horbuvo; Chief Superintendent, Prosper Atisu; the District Immigration Commander; the District Fire Commander, Anthony Mayebi; Mr. Moses Nutifafa, a leading fisherman; Mr. Desmond Obese Nkansah, Assistant Director at the KSDA; Mr. Robert Azuma, Secretary of NICFC; and Messrs Isaac Sebi, Simon Akpalu and Paul Okain, all fishermen.