17:17, 22.Jul 2016
The Minority in Parliament has accused government of engaging in fraudulent and corrupt practices that have resulted in low prices for cocoa.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, October 18, the Minority spokesperson on agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, alleged: “The low producer price they are paying to cocoa farmers is as a direct result of the fact that the gross proceeds from cocoa exports are riddled with fraud and corruption perpetrated by the NDC government. That is the real reason why they are not providing sufficient incentives to farmers by giving them a remunerative price.”
The Minority has pointed accusing fingers at government for shifting the blame for the low prices onto the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said he could not fathom how government could not take responsibility to improve the sector and assured farmers of an increase in producer prices to restore production to the peak of over 1 million tonnes.
He insisted that the executive wing of government is in charge of cocoa policy exclusively and “no opposition member has any influence whatsoever on that, not even the Minority Caucus has any influence on how much government decides to give to producers for their produce”.
Government announced an increase in the producer price of cocoa to GHS 6,720.00 per tonne from GHS5, 520.00 per tonne for the 2015/2016 season, which opened on Friday October 2, 2014.
The figure translates into GHS420.00 per bag of 64kg gross, representing about 73 per cent of the net Free On Board (FOB) price.
Some farmers have, however, expressed displeasure concerning the new price as they have indicated that the increase was too little considering the cost of production.