General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has accused the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government of deliberately fixing a low cocoa producer price for the past three years only to dramatically increase it two months to the general elections.
He said the low producer price of a bag of cocoa in the last 3 years was a direct result of the fact that the proceeds from cocoa export were riddled with fraud and corruption perpetrated by government.
He was speaking during a courtesy call on the chiefs and people of Nkwantaso in the Dormaa West District of the Bono Region.
According to Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the NPP government has increased the cocoa producer price within the last three years by only GHC 40 and two months to elections the government has increased the price to GHC660 just to get their votes.
He also mentioned that fertilizers which were given free of charge to cocoa farmers under John Mahama are now being sold to them under Akufo-Addo.
“Akufo-Addo has found a way to wipe away the “NOT” in the “NOT FOR SALE” inscription on those fertilizer bags and he is now selling it to you; when he saw that the pressure mounted on him by you cocoa farmers was unbearable, he now says he’s giving the fertilizers to you on credit. I came to assure you that John Mahama is coming back in January so consider those fertilizers you took on credit to be free of charge and tear the repayment coupons and throw them away,” he said.
But speaking in an interview on Kumasi-based Hello FM monitored by MyNewsGh.com on Wednesday night, President Akufo-Addo refuted Mr Asiedu Nketiah’s claims. He gave the reasons for the rise in the price of a bag of cocoa as a deliberate effort by his government and that of Alassane Ouattara of Cote d`Ivoire to better a lot of the farmers.
“We had had a lot of negotiations with the consumer public, the big chocolate manufacturers in the world and we came to this agreement that our farmers deserve what we call the Living Income Differential (LID) so that our farmers can have the biggest stake in the industry”, he explained.
The president said that anybody who says the increase in the price of cocoa is an electoral gimmick certainly has not been paying attention to his policies for the cocoa sector; Côte d’Ivoire is also implementing the policy at the same time as ours; it is a policy that we have been working on for a very long time and it just so happened that it materialized in this period.”
Source: My News GH