The Minority New Patriotic Party in Parliament has entreated cocoa farmers to dismiss vile propaganda being perpetuated by the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) against the NPP’s presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo over the recently announced producer price of cocoa.
According to the Minority, activists of the governing NDC are spreading wicked lies in cocoa growing areas that government paid low producer price of GHc475 because Nana Akufo-Addo failed to sign an agreement with international banks for government to get money to enable them offer a high producer price.
Addressing a news conference at Parliament House today, Minority Spokesperson on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, Dr. Owusu Akoto-Afriyie said government is using the propaganda to cover up its failures to cocoa farmers.
“…government could not go beyond the GHc475; it has nothing to do with Nana Akufo-Addo. The executive wing of government is in charge of cocoa policy exclusively and no opposition member has any influence or whatsoever on that, not even us here as minority in Parliament, we have no influence on how much the government decides to give to producers for their produce. The [Kwaku] Ananse story is meant to throw dust into the eyes of our poor cocoa farmers.”
Government on October 1, 2016 announced an 11.76% increase in the producer price of cocoa. But some cocoa farmers complained that the amount was too small.
Meanwhile some government communicators have blamed the NPP and its flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo for the agitations by the farmers.
But Dr. Akoto-Afriyie insisted that Akufo-Addo is innocent.
“The NDC are tempted to shift the blame for slim wage cocoa prices from themselves unto the innocent NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo. The low producer prices they are paying to cocoa farmers is as a direct result of the fact that the gross proceeds from cocoa exports are riddled with fraud and corruption perpetuated by the NDC government and that is the real reason why they are not providing sufficient incentive to farmers by giving them a remunerative price and that should be made very clear.”
COCOBOD on chemicals on roads
Dr. Akoto-Afriyie also challenged COCOBOD to release full details of the amount it used in constructing cocoa roads in the country as well as fertilizer and other chemicals it claimed it distributed to farmers.
“The Ghana COCOBOD claims it spent the equivalent of over GHc838 million in 2015/2016 importing and distributing fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals to cocoa farmers and another $150 million on cocoa roads among others. The figure of GHc838 million is nearly twice the total annual budget allocation to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture development in the financial year 2016. So the amount that they claimed they are using to import these chemicals is huge. It will be important for the COCOBOD to provide the names and locations of the farmers and the quantities supplied to them. We don’t have any evidence of that and yet they are trumpeting that they spent this amount on chemicals.”
By: Godwin A. Allotey & Awudu Mahama/citifmonline.com/Ghana