The Minority in Parliament has risen to defend former President John Mahama and his claims about the cocoa sector.
John Mahama claims the country’s cocoa sector is on the verge of collapse because of the mismanagement of the sector by the government.
Addressing party supporters and branch executives at the start of his two-day campaign tour of the Western North Region, Mr Mahama said the government’s failure to adjust the producer price of cocoa annually delayed payment of farmers for cocoa beans combined with other factors to destroy the sector.
Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) refuted claims by the former that the cocoa sector in Ghana has collapsed. It described such statements as misleading and detrimental to the cocoa sector, which forms the foundation of Ghana’s economy.
Reacting to this development, Ranking Member on Parliament’s Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Eric Opoku accused COCOBOD of peddling falsehood.
“Ghana COCOBOD must know that they cannot seek refuge in lies to cover the havoc they have wrecked on the cocoa sector, the untold hat ships unleashed on the Ghanaian cocoa farmer and the crass incompetence, mismanagement, recklessness and insensitivity demonstrated so far.”
The Minority accuses President Akufo-Addo’s government of worsening COCOBOD’s plight from the state where it met it.
“In 2017, the NDC handed over a prosperous and thriving cocoa industry with buffers in the cocoa stabilization fund, farmers’ welfare fund, depreciation fund, farmers’ housing fund, and others including GH₵29 million set aside for the rolling out of the cocoa farmers pension scheme envisaged under the P.N.D.C.L 81.
“Shockingly, the Akufo-Addo’s government has dissipated all these buffers within 6 years, leaving nothing for the industry to lean on in times of difficulties.
“Again, the Board has been incurring losses since Nana Addo assumed office. COCOBOD is yet to explain why the cocoa industry cannot be profitable under the Nana Addo/Bawumia government. Available records indicate the following;
The group went ahead to tout the NDC’s records in the cocoa sector.
“In the entire four-year period of President John Mahama, producer price of cocoa was increased by 124.1 per cent (from GH₵212 in 2013/14 to GH₵475 in 2016/17) contrasted with 68.4 per cent in the last six years under Nana Addo (from GH₵475 in 2017/18 to GH₵800 in 2022/23).
“It must be noted that the highest jump in producer price in the last two decades happened under John Mahama in the 2014/15 season (from GH₵212 to GH₵345 – 62.7%).”