The Serdom fishing and farming community, made up of Ewes, Ningos, Adas and Krobos in the Asuogyaman District, is about facing strong socio-economic challenges, following the arrival of Dedeso Holdings, a company responsible for the removal of tree stumps in the Volta Lake
According to the community, the activities of Dedeso Holdings were gradually pushing them (community members) out business and denying them their livelihoods, which would compound the already pitiful poor living standards.
The leadership of the community disclosed that they had lived in the area for the past 26 years, after their economic migration from their respective towns to resettle along the Volta Lake, with their main occupation being fishing and farming.
Speaking to The Chronicle on behalf of the members of the community during a visit on Thursday, Paul Abosti appealed to the government to immediately stop the company from its operations.
He pointed out that the fishes use the base of the shrubs as their homes, where they lay their eggs, with the subsequent hatching into fingerlings, hence if the shrubs are completely removed, it would be difficult to get fish.
He explained that even though many of them did not go to school, because they did not then understand the essence of education, they were not leaving any stone unturned to ensure that their children get the best of education through farming and fishing activities.
The spokesperson for the community disclosed that despite their unflinching determination to send their children to school and create a long-lasting socio-economic environment, the members of the community are heavily challenged with basic social facilities.
The poor nature of the road network leading to the community has compelled drivers to indulge into irregular and irresponsible driving, as they take on more passengers than they are supposed to.
It is better to use a motorbike since is fast and relatively convenient, but it would be an unforgettable journey if it rains on the way to the community.
Apart from the road, the community has not got any health facility to access when the residents are sick and need medical attention, as well as poor educational facilities.
Among other issues, Mr. Abosti indicated that their quest to change their socio-economic situation in their favour would not be stopped with the aforementioned challenges, and would therefore, push their children above the poverty ladder.
That notwithstanding, he stated that the logging of the lumber in the Volta Lake, if not stopped immediately, would be a huge obstacle towards the responsible development of their children, since the fishing is their major source of income.
To them, they would be out of business, with its corresponding school dropouts, since they would not be able to pay back loans taken from the various banks and paying the school fees of their children.
Responding to the issues raised by the community, the Operations Manager for the company, Ali M. Marnah, confirmed the operations of his outfit, but indicated he would not be able to speak to the paper, since he needed to seek authorisation from management before speaking to the media.
Notwithstanding what he described as company policies, he went on to explain the company is operating in the Volta Lake for two reasons, that is logging to pave the way for safe navigation and selling the logs for commercial gain.
According to him, because his company is a law-abiding establishment, it embarked upon community engagements prior to the start of the project for about two years to explain to the residents about the nature of the work, and how the company intends operating in the area
To him, the community, to a large extent, has embraced the exercise, since it would pave the way for safe navigation and fishing, and would, therefore, call on the general public to discard the issues raised by some embittered fishermen who are using illegal fishing practices.