Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) vice presidential candidate has appealed to Cocoa farmers and all involved in the Cocoa Sector to support Nana Akufo-Addo and NPP to win the November general elections, since it is the party that has demonstrated the willingness to transform the Cocoa sector of the economy.
Addressing cocoa farmers at the various villages in the Amenfi West Constituency, during a two-day tour of the constituency, Dr. Bawumia recalled the strides the Cocoa Sector made under excellent leadership of President John Kufuor and how the sector was now struggling under the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“If you look at this farm behind us, most of the Cocoa trees are dying. The Cocoa industry itself in Ghana is collapsing. If you look at the Cocoa Sector in the Ivory Coast and you look at Ghana, there is a clear difference in how the sector is going.
Under President Kufuor, the NPP raised Cocoa production from 341,000 tonnes to about 700,000 tonnes by 2008. Thanks to the good work of the NPP, Cocoa Production hit the historic 1million mark in 2010/2011. This was due to policies like the Mass Spraying and Fertilizer Subsidy programmes as well as other policies.
“Now these have collapsed. The NDC introduced politics into the Mass Spraying policy. They forgot that Cocoa farms are like a network and so if one farm gets damaged, it would spread to other farms.
“It is, therefore, not smart to discriminate like the NDC has done, because it is the farmers who create wealth for this country and so by helping farmers, you are helping Ghana. Any government that, therefore, does politics with a sensitive issue like Cocoa, is only damaging Ghana. This is why the economy of Ghana is going down at the same time Cocoa is going down“, he said.
Dr. Bawumia explained to the farmers, Nana Akufo-Addo’s vision for the Cocoa Sector, when elected, is to aggressively pursue policies that will ensure that an additional 500,000 metric tonnes is added to the current output in 10 years and that, the achievement of this vision will be hinged on supporting the hardworking Cocoa farmers to produce more and bring more trees under cultivation.
“Under the NPP, our view is that for Ghana to do well, cocoa must do well. It is because of this that we introduced the mass spraying programme and fertilizer subsidy program.
“Our policy is to immediately restore the Mass Cocoa Spraying and Fertilizer Subsidy programmes, as well as a policy to supply and bring new seedlings into cultivation, because without this, the Ivory Coast will leave us behind and we will soon fall below 500,000 tonnes.
”Our vision is to introduce policies that will see the addition of 500,000 tonnes to the output now. It is going to be an intensive exercise and we will support our Cocoa Farmers greatly to achieve this, because when Cocoa does well, Ghana does well, but the NDC has failed to realize this.
“If you go to the Ivory Coast, Cocoa production is going up, yet when you come to Ghana, it is falling. This means that, there is a problem in Ghana and that problem is the failed NDC policies in the cocoa sector“, he added.
Dr. Bawumia took the opportunity to visit various Cocoa farms in Berekum and other communities in the Amenfi West Constituency to find out about the extent of decline in the sector.
He was accompanied on the tour by the Parliamentary Candidate for the area, Paul Dekyi and he visited over 20 communities; including Woman No Good, Bena, Oforikrom, Bena Nkwanta, Nyame Bekyere, Ohiampeanika, Wansema, Ntaaboo, Bisaaso, Mumuni, Pataase, Torompan, Nope, Mmoframfaadwen, Ayensukrom, Gravel Yard, Ahwiam and Prestea Nkwanta.