Government has rejected accusations of he Vice Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party(NPP), Dr Bawumia who said that the cocoa sector under the present NDC administration is collapsing.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Muntalla Mohammed, in an interview with Citi News has debunked the claims, saying that the figures produced by COCOBOD do not support the case of Dr. Bawumia. Muntalla Mohammed emphasized that “Dr. Bawumia doesn’t know what he is talking about.”
He should have been able to tell us that this year, this is the quantity of cocoa that has been produced and if you look at the quantity that has been produced, as compared to the so called 700,000, he would have realized that it’s not a point that he should make publicly,” he argued.
Muntalla Mohammed went on to argue that under the NPP, fertilizers were sold to cocoa farmers “and you even need a chit to be able to buy it” but under the NDC government such farm inputs “are given to farmers for free.”
So the farmers know which government has given them so much attention and which government indeed sought their interest. It’s not about what Dr. Bawumia is saying…you don’t need any rocket science to tell you that this government has given so much attention and interest in the welfare of cocoa farmers than the NPP,” he added.
Bawumia made these claims during campaigns, while addressing the farmers, at Brekum, a Cocoa growing community in the Amenfi West Constituency, urging them to support Nana Addo.
Below is Bawumia’s address to cocoa farmers on the issue sourced from Peacefmonline:
If you look at this farm behind us, most of the Cocoa trees in it 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 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 for example. They forgot that Cocoa farms are like a network and so if one farm gets damaged, it would spread to other farms and so it is not smart to discriminate like the NDC has done because it is farmers who create wealth for this country and so by helping farmers, you are helping Ghana. Any government that therefore does politicization 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.
Under the NPP, our view was that for Ghana to do well, cocoa must do well. It is because of this we introduced the mass spraying programme and fertilizer subsidy program.
Our policy is to immediately restore the Mass Spraying and Fertilizer Subsidy programmes as well as a policy to supply and bring new seedlings into cultivation because withoutthis, the Ivory Coast will leave us behind and we will soon fall below 500,000 tonnes but 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 realise 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 sector“, he added.