The Minority has accused the government of selling cocoa fertilisers meant for free distribution to farmers.
The Minority said fertilisers, which were purchased during the Mahama administration, are meant for free distribution to farmers.
In a press briefing in Accra , the Ranking Member of parliament's Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs committee, Eric Opoku, said government must stop the sale of such inputs.
“We want to emphasise that cocoa farmers have indirectly through the producer price determination formula used for the 2016/17 cocoa season, paid for the fertiliser. Selling the same fertiliser to the same farmer is broad day robbery”.
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“We are, therefore, urging the NPP government to be sensitive to the plight of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer by halting the sale of the fertiliser and revert to the NDC’s free fertilisation programme for the 2016/17 cocoa season.”
The Minority said it also wanted a full disclosure of accumulated funds in the Cocoa Stabilisation Fund and also charged COCOBOD to allow the Producer Price Review Committee to determine the cocoa price for farmers.
Mr Opoku urged COCOBOD to increase cocoa prices and give bonuses to farmers.
Below is the press release issued by the Minority:
MINORITY PRESS CONFERENCE ON COCOA
Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press,
Our attention has been drawn to some statements made by the CEO of COCOBOD, Mr. Joseph Boahene Aidoo on 8th June, 2017 when he interacted with joy FM to the effect that producer price of Cocoa would not be increased and farmers would not be paid Bonus for the 2017/2018 Cocoa Season because the World market Price has fallen. This has been the subject of discussion in the Ghanaian Media for the past two weeks.
Ladies and Gentleman, first and foremost, we wish to state that the chief Executive officer of COCOBOD is not clothed with the mandate to determine the producer price of Cocoa for farmers. It is the duty of the producer Price Review Committee to determine producer price of cocoa taking into consideration several factors including the economic conditions prevailing in the Country in order not to inflict untold hardships on our farmers. We are therefore urging the CEO of COCOBOD to allow the committee established in 1984 which has since discharged its duties effectively and efficiently to continue its work without any form of usurpation.
COCOA STABILISATION FUND
In October, 2014, the NDC government under President John Dramani Mahama established the Cocoa Stabilization Fund with annual contributions from the FOB price as a risk-mitigation mechanism against declines in the international cocoa prices. The primary objective of the stabilization Fund was to apply it to sustain the earnings of cocoa farmers and to cushion them, should the market price begin to decline. The recent decline in the price of cocoa internationally must therefore trigger the use of the stabilization Fund to put smiles on the faces of our farmers.
We are therefore encouraging the CEO of COCOBOD to make it public how much is accumulated in the Fund and its impact on the farmers in this critical period.
It is also important to note that extensive stakeholder consultation has always been the means of achieving the best for our hardworking Cocoa Farmers.
COCOA FERTILIZATION PROGRAMME
Ladies and Gentlemen, The NDC Government under the leadership of President John Dramani Mahama introduced the Cocoa Fertilization Programme among other things to increase Cocoa Production in Ghana. Accordingly, the Producer Price Review Committee before the determination of the producer price of cocoa made provision for the purchase of 2.2 million bags of granular fertilizer and 1.6 million litres of liquid fertilizer to fertilise over 1 million hectares of cocoa farms free of charge to the farmer in the 2016/17 cocoa season. Surprisingly, the NPP government on assumption of office has replaced the Free Fertilization Programme with a programme under which farmers pay (GH₵80) for a bag of fertilizer.
This is unacceptable, we cannot sit aloof for the Government to cheat our cocoa Farmers.
Under the free fertilization programme, the cocoa farmer was entitled to 7.5 bags of granular fertilizer per every hectare of cocoa farm. So a farmer who has 100 hectares of cocoa farm was given 750 bags of fertilizer free of charge. Today under President Akuffo Addo/Bawumia government the same farmer is to pay (GH₵60, 000) for the same 750 bags of fertilizer. This has exposed the Ghanaian cocoa farmer to intolerable levels of penury.
We want to emphasize that cocoa farmers have indirectly through the producer price determination formula used for the 2016/17 cocoa season paid for the fertilizer. Selling the same fertilizer to the same farmer is a broad day robbery.
We are therefore urging the NPP Government to be sensitive to the plight of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer by halting the sale of the fertilizer and revert to the NDC’s free fertilization programme for the 2016/17 cocoa season.
Thank you for your attention.