NPP Will Compensate Cocoa Farmers – Minister

Dr. Ziblim Iddi, Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah, William Agyepong Quiattoo, TIna Mensah

The Deputy Minister-designate for Food and Agriculture, William Agyapong Quaittoo, has indicated that the production of cocoa in the country is being threatened by the menace of galamsey (illegal mining), stressing that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration will implement pragmatic policies to boost its production.

According to him, the NPP government under President Nana Akufo-Addo, will engage cocoa farmers on the need to replace their old cocoa trees and pay them appropriate compensation.

He said land owners would also be paid compensation so that they would not be encouraged to take back their lands form cocoa farmers.

The deputy minister-designate said the government would also sell fertilizers to cocoa farmers at subsidized prices.

Mr Agyapong Quaittoo said the policies of the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in the cocoa subsector were inimical to cocoa production, saying that the current administration would re-introduce the mass cocoa spraying exercise to would cover all cocoa farmers without any discrimination.

“The NDC’s policy of asking cocoa farmers to cut down old cocoa trees and replace them with new varieties without any compensation was very discouraging and so many farmers refused to replace their old cocoa trees with high-yielding varieties. The selective mass cocoa spraying exercise was a waste of time and chemicals while the free distribution of fertilizers did not benefit the farmers because the fertilizers eventually ended in wrong hands,” Mr Quaittoo who is the MP for Akim Oda, said when he appeared before the Appointments Committee on Monday.

He said the government would also help boost the production of cashew by installing processing machines in the cashew belt of the country.

The deputy minister-designate also told the Committee that the government would attach great importance to the production of coffee, stressing that agriculture would be driven by research and data collection.

Mr Agyapong Quaittoo therefore, indicated that the government would register all farmers, especially those producing food crops, to enable the government properly project food production and help in marketing the produce of farmers.

He said the government will also establish shea nut processing factories in the northern parts of the country to create jobs for the people in those areas.

The deputy minister-designate for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi, advocated for the creation of Creative Arts Fund to support players in the tourism industry.

He said the ministry would establish the Creative Arts Council to create a platform for players in the sector to relate effectively with the ministry and help move the industry forward.

Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi also indicated that the ministry would help fast-track the Creative Arts Bill to get the sector fully integrated into the tourism industry.

The  deputy minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development, Collins Ntim, said district assemblies would have to find innovative ways of increasing their revenue generation to be able to execute all developmental projects at the district level.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr