Cocoa Sector Not Collpasing; Bawumia Is ‘Ignorant’ – Gov’t
Government has rejected accusations by Vice Presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Dr. Muhammadu Bawumia, that the cocoa sector has seen a nosedive under the current John Mahama administration.
The running mate to NPP’s flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo during visit to some cocoa growing areas in the Western Region, accused government of failing to grow the cocoa sector.
According to the economist, government has scrapped most of the incentives introduced in the sector by the NPP government and urged Ghanaians to vote for Nana Addo and the NPP government to revive the sector.
“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 cocoa 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 1 million mark in 2010/2011. This was due to policies like the mass spraying and fertilizer subsidy programmes as well as other policies,” he noted.
But in an interview with Citi News, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Muntalla Mohammed, said the figures produced by COCOBOD do not support the case of Dr. Bawumia.
He insisted 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 of the cocoa 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 argued 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.
Cocoa farmers have often accused successive governments of politicizing the support they offer to them.