Blame Mahama for the decline in the country’s Cocoa Production—Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has held the former President, John Dramani Mahama responsible for the decline in the country’s cocoa production.
He also blamed him for the swollen shoot disease that has affected the crop and expressed regret for the ex president’s failure in every sector of his administration.
Dr Akoto said this in Parliament on Wednesday when the Member of Parliament (MP) of Segnerigu, Aba Fuseini asked a question about the decline in the country’s cocoa production.
Dr Akoto noted that the Mahama-led administration failed to roll out appropriate measures to fight the disease which he said affected trees that were replaced.
He indicated that the swollen shoot disease caused lots of damages in the cocoa sector and the economy, stressing that the previous administration could have better to address the incident.
Dr Akoto, however assured that measures were in line to help revive the cocoa sector to boost the economy.
He noted that cocoa industry plays critical role in the socioeconomic development of every country as it provides employment and source of livelihood to many farm families and other stakeholders in the cocoa value chain.
Dr Akoto indicated that government’s was committed to help revitalise the country’s agriculture sector to achieve the “Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda.”
“Export of cocoa beans and other cocoa products is a major avenue for the generation of the much needed foreign exchange for the economies of Ghana and the sustainability of the cocoa industry is therefore critical for the governments to revitalise the economy,” he added.
Ghana’s cocoa production has been declining in recent years after picking up in 2016/17 crop season.
The country recorded 969,511 metric tons in 2016/17 but fell to 904,740 in 2018 and 811,606 in 2019.
Meanwhile, the minority in parliament has charged management of COCOBOD to reduce reliance on loans to finance its operations.
This follows approval of $1.3 billion dollars for purchase of estimated 900,000 tones of cocoa beans for the 2020/2021 crop season.
Presenting the report of the finance committee, Chairman for the committee Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah explained that the facility would be drawn down on need basis to ensure funds were available to purchase the beans from cocoa farmers.
Part of the facility, he said would also be used for construction of cocoa roads.
The MP of Adaklu Governs Kwame Agbodza on his part demanded answers for the failure of government to make public a report on audit of previous contracts awarded under the cocoa roads project following allegations of corruption against the Mahama administration.
Speaking to the media after proceedings, Ho Central MP who is also a member of the finance committee, Benjamin Kpodo tasked management of COCOBOD to avoid wasteful expenditure in order to wean itself of constant borrowing to purchase cocoa beans.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE