The Minority’s spokesperson on Food and Agriculture, Hon. Eric Opoku, has accused the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government of “shortchanging” Ghanaian farmers with its policies.
Speaking to Oheneba Boamah Bennie on Battleground on Radio XYZ 93.1, the former Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister said the government did not increase cocoa producer price instead, it managed to deduct about GHS 319 million from a syndicated loan it took this year.
“Before the net FOB, the government has deducted 319 million cedis for the purchase of fertilisers for cocoa farmers and sell them to these farmers in bags that have the inscription ‘Not for sale’.”
This year, COCOBOD announced that the Producer Price of cocoa for the 2018/2019 cocoa season will remain at GH S475 per a 65kg bag despite a fall in the commodity’s price on the international market.
But Mr Opoku insists the price could have been increased slightly if the government had good plans for farmers. He also kicked against the government for selling fertilisers meant to be distributed freely to the farmers to help boost cocoa yield.
Mr Opoku who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South went on to criticise the policies the government has rolled out in the agric sector, claiming they have not helped the sector because their outcomes are not best for the farmers.
Mr Opoku said during the tenure of former President John Mahama, the government distributed free fertilisers to farmers that resulted in the country exporting almost a million metric tonnes of cocoa in 2017/2018. He also mentioned that upon all the “noise” about artificial pollination and the policies the government said it has introduced to the agric sector, the country’s cocoa production is declining.
“They have even said the next season it will reduce to 900,000 metric tonnes. Clearly they have conceded that their policies are not working,” he added.
To him farmers in the country have lost confidence in the Nana Akufo-Addo led government, adding that “the way the NPP government is running the agric sector, many people are losing interest in farming.”
“from now till 2020 when these poor farmers will have the opportunity to vote this government out, we in the Minority have to speak for them,” he said as he pledged that the Minority will contine to have the farmers in the country at heart and project their plights for consideration.