The recurring incessant requests, and in some cases demands, for land from the communities in GREL’s operational area give great cause for concern.  The requests for land always come when the Company fells old trees for re-planting.  All stakeholders need to be kept abreast of pertinent facts for our collective knowledge.

 The total land area of GREL under a compulsory Land Acquisition Act through Executive Instruments 43, 44, 45, 46 and 58 of 1968 was 90,000 (ninety thousand) acres or about 36,000 (thirty six thousand) hectares.

As a result of some agitations from some of the communities in GREL’s operational area, a Committee of Enquiry was set up by the Government of the Republic of Ghana in June 1993 to investigate those land disputes involving GREL lands.  A common strand that underlined the reasons for the setting up of the committee was expansion of the communities in GREL’s operational area.

The “Report of the Committee of Enquiry Into Ghana Rubber Estates Limited Land Dispute” issued in October 1993, ceded several land area to several affected communities.  That action reduced the land area of GREL.  Finally, on May 1, 1997, the Lease Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL) reduced the concession of GREL to the current 15,000 (fifteen thousand) hectares. In effect, GREL is operating on only 41% of its original land area.

The question to ask is: Where is the 21,000 hectares of land ‘given up’ by GREL? Unlike capital which can experience “capital flight” land is immovable and so the 21,000 hectares are existing.  What the various communities have done, and are still doing, with the 21,000 hectares can be anybody’s guess.  

It is therefore worrying and dangerous for the territorial integrity and future sustainability of GREL if the incessant requests for land from the legal acquisition of GREL do not stop. 

We do not need to belabour the point that GREL’s contributions to the livelihood of citizens in its area of operation are stupendous.  The Company offers jobs to more than 2,500 people in our operational area.  At the end of every month GREL puts into the economy of the communities in its operational area not less than One million Euros apart from the payment of corporate taxes and other statutory payments. The multiplier effect of such payments is enormous.

GREL is the technical operator of the Rubber Out-grower Plantations Project (ROPP) under which more than 10,000 (ten thousand) out-growers have cultivated rubber. Their total production is even outstripping the quantity produced by GREL.  Many farmers in the Western and Central Regions and beyond have taken advantage of the rubber out-grower scheme and have thereby become economically empowered.    

Furthermore, GREL is the only major employer in the Ahanta, Nzema, Gwira and parts of the Wassa Fiase traditional areas in the Western Region.  Just as we are committed not to encroach on anybody’s land we expect communities in our operational area to reciprocate our commitment.

GREL is further committed to peaceful co-existence with communities in our operational area and we shall continue to drive our Corporate Sustainable Development projects to improve the standard of living of the people in our operational area. We therefore hope that communities in our operational area will respect the territorial integrity of GREL for our mutual benefit.