View Full Version : Bonanza for "WEE" farmers

5th March 2011, 01:19 PM
The cultivation of Cannabis Sativa or Marijuana known in the local parlance as ‘wee’ has always been a hazardous business.

Farmers and patrons of the product have always ended up at the wrong end of the law. This time round, wee farmers are in for a treat.

Under a special scheme to be initiated on behalf of the state by the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the Government would partner wee farmers to divert into other profitable farming ventures; with the aim of reducing the increasing yield of the narcotic drug in the country.

At the launch of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) 2010, Report at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Accra, Naval Captain Assase-Gyimah said the government was prepared to partner those who were prepared to stop growing the illicit drug, and to divert into more acceptable means of farming.

The NACOB boss said his outfit, with the support of the Ghana AIDS Commission, initiated a similar pilot scheme in 2003. However the scheme was discontinued in 2008, because some farmers continued to grow the wee plant, despite receiving incentives to cultivate alternative crops.

He told the gathering that in spite of the inability to operate the pilot scheme successfully previously, NACOB was seeking to re-introduce the alternative development programme, having taken into consideration the constraints and challenges, as well as lessons from the pilot scheme.

He said, Cannabis Sativa (Wee) continues to be the most widely trafficked and abused drug in the West Africa sub-region, including Ghana, observing that in Africa; the annual prevalence rate for cannabis abuse, among the population aged between 14-64 years was between 5 and 10 percent.

He explained that the statistics was among the highest in the world, and that it was approximately double the global average.

Naval Capt. Assase Gyimah said NACOB was engaging traditional rulers as partners in the fight against the use of farmlands for the cultivation of cannabis, noting that drug abuse was a continuous challenge, and required constant attention and action.

Apparently referring to reports of illicit drug related issues being politicized,Naval Captain Assase Gyimah said NACOB board was non-partisan in the execution of its functions, because the problems related to drugs do not respect party politics.

“We have our youth to inform and protect, and we will not politicise drug issues and lose focus in our effort to curb the menace” he stressed.

Touching briefly on INCB, the NACOB Board Chairman said the institution was an independent and quasi-judicial organ, established by treaty for monitoring the implementation of international drug control treaties.

He said the INCB report, which is launched annually, highlights current trends in the trafficking and abuse of drugs across the globe, and seeks a possible antidote to the menace, adding that each year the report focuses on drug supply, suppression, demand, reduction, rehabilitation and social integration, among other issues.

Launching the report, the Minister for Interior, Dr.Benjamin Kumbour,said illicit drug trafficking had assumed a sophisticated dimension, aided by technological advancement, and stressed the need for law enforcement agencies to be properly equipped, to enable them to counteract the clandestine activities of the perpetrators of drug-related crimes.

Source: Chronicle