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Government has neglected cocoa farmers – Minority

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The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, led by President Nana Akufo-Addo, has been accused of neglecting cocoa farmers in Ghana.

This, they say, is evident in the cancellation of some road projects, challenges with cocoa mass spraying exercise, and replacement of free fertilizers with subsidized ones.

“Our dear farmers, it is sad to note that no provision was made for cocoa roads in the COCOBOD budget for 2017/18. This means that the cocoa roads which are deteriorating faster than anticipated due to the neglect of the NPP government, is going to get worse, making users (mostly farmers) wretchedly despondent and low-spirited to continue to labour for our dear nation,” said the Minority Spokesperson on Agric, Eric Opoku.

Speaking at a press conference on happenings in the cocoa sector at Bodi in the Western Region on Monday, Mr. Opoku also accused the NPP government of sidelining perceived sympathizers of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the distribution of fertilizers, claiming that farmers are plunged into difficulties.

“The programme is over politicized and perceived NDC sympathizers are left out in the distribution of chemicals.”

He further challenged government to come clean on how much government has realized so far in the cocoa stabilization fund.

“You may recall that in the last press conference, we made specific demands in respect of the Cocoa Stabilization Fund established in 2014 by the Mahama government. Even though attempts were made to respond to the issues raised, specific questions were not addressed. We are still interested in knowing how much is accumulated in the Cocoa Stabilization Fund and its impact on cocoa farmers in this critical period.”

On the subsidized fertilizer, Eric Opoku described it as broad day light robbery.

“On 21st June 2017, the Minority in Parliament held a press conference and drew the attention of the NPP Government to the fact that, the Ghanaian Cocoa farmer had indirectly paid for the fertilizers procured for the 2016/17 season, and therefore selling same to them amounts to broad day light robbery. We further explained that in Ghana, cocoa farmers are paid in kind and in cash, and by replacing the free fertilizer with a subsidized system, the NPP would inflict untold hardships on the cocoa farmer.”