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Ghana: Wee - Lucrative Business For Dzemani Children?

Herb Fellow

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Many school going children at Dzemeni in the South Dayi District of the Volta Region have taken an interest in Indian hemp, popularly known as "wee", production in the area including island communities across the Volta Lake at the expense of their education.

In recent times, records indicate that the junior high schools in the area, performed poorly due to the fact that they were engaged on the wee farms, which have become a viable economic activity to them.

The Chronicle's investigation into this phenomenon revealed that both the old and the young have been involved in the wee business for decades, and no longer take an interest in the cultivation of food crops, such as cassava, maize and tomatoes.

According to the sources, the recent increase in the wee business was as a result of the high cost of agricultural inputs, coupled with lack of markets for their produce, which compelled them to indulge in this illegal activity.

The sources mentioned Simon Kofe, Galelia and other island communities, as areas where the Indian hemp is cultivated on a large scale, adding that access to the farms were dangerous as any individual crossing the lake or attempting to find out anything about the farm becomes a target.

The sources, however, said in view of this, fear has gripped the people, because the dealers were on the alert and attacked anybody who would attempt to report their criminal activities to the authorities.

According to the sources, the financiers of the wee farms included foreigners, noting that transportation of the products was becoming a problem as a result of the presence of the Ghana Navy patrol team on the Volta Lake.

In spite of security measures to curtail this criminal activity, the dealers continue to find alternative means to transport the product to the towns and cities.

One of such moves, by a 41 year old driver, Yemoh Odoi, to outwit the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) personnel stationed at the Asikuma checkpoint was intercepted.

The vehicle, with the registration number GR 6851 N, was impounded for carrying 1,640 compressed parcels of wee, with each parcel weighing one kilogram.

The products were packed in a well-designed compartment of a cargo van, which looks like a car locally manufactured for that business, as none of the CEPS officers including onlookers could identify the brand of the car.

In an interview, the suspect, Odoi admitted driving the car but denied ownership of the substance contained in the van, but said it belonged to one Kudzo who directed him to drive the car from Dzemeni to the Tetteh Quarshie interchange for another person to take over from there.
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The chief collector at the Asikuma Checkpoint, Alhaji Salifu Ibn Alhassan commended the officers on duty for their vigilance, adding that the consignment was the largest amount of wee intercepted at the checkpoint.

He said the officers were on the high alert for criminals, who think that they could make their way through at the checkpoint, and appealed to the public to volunteer information to CEPS to enable them make more of such arrests.

The concealed parcels looked as if they were meant for exportation with several code-branding like "K2, JO, WL, TK, MM, LW, among others. Pix: Parcels of seized Indian hemp (Wee)

Source: All Africa Global Media (allAfrica.com)
Copyright: 2007 Ghanaian Chronicle
Contact: Samuel Agbewode Asikuma, Ghanaian Chronicle
Website: allAfrica.com: Ghana: Wee - Lucrative Business for Dzemani Children? (Page 1 of 1)
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