Cocoa farmers in the Ahafo Region have vowed they would not allow themselves to be tricked by President Akufo-Addo-led government again with cocoa producer prices as elections draw closer.
According to the farmers, the recent announcement of producer prices by the government was a clear deceptive agenda as usual of it’s to trick them to have trust in the government and voting for the governing party in 2024.
A situation, they believed could no longer be relied upon after they had suffered losses in investments made in the cocoa sector in the last few years.
President Akufo-Addo had earlier this month, announced a 63.5% increase in the new cocoa producer price for the 2023/2024 cocoa season.
This translates into GH₵1,308 per bag from the previous GH₵800 per bag.
When the President broke the news at a function at Tepa in the Ahafo-Ano Municipality, elated farmers rushed in front of the podium to express their excitement about the quantum increase in the producer price.
However, some farmers who participated in a forum organized by the Minority members of the Food and Agriculture Committee of Parliament at Dabiasoba community in the Goaso Municipality on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, believed the move by the government on the new producer price is politically tainted.
Some of them claimed they had worked for the Cocoa Board of Ghana (COCOABOD) for months without pay and wondered why the government had money to increase producer’s prices but could not pay them for work done.
The farmers also accused the government of misleading them into pruning down their cocoa trees under the National Farm Pruning Programme with the mind of being assisted but rather impoverishing them.
The government claimed the National Cocoa Farm Pruning Programme was aimed at rehabilitating farms that have been affected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) and rendered unproductive.
However, Madam Gladys Mensah who wept bitterly while narrating her predicament to the Minority said, she had lost all her cocoa farm investment after the government pruning exercises.
Similar situations were collaborated by other farmers present at the Minority with Cocoa Farmers forum.
Ranking member of Food and Agriculture, Hon Eric Opoku who addressed the farmers charged them not to be influenced by the government’s lofty producer price, stressing the increment was rather a shortchange and that they should have been getting over GHS2,000.00 per bag and not GHS1,308.
The Ghanaian Cocoa farmer, he believed deserves better than what they are getting currently where a bag of cocoa beans has moved from GHc 800) to GHc 1,308), a situation he said is a complete robbery by the government.
“In all sincerity, every cocoa farmer should have been given at least GHC2,500 per bag. So the question is, where is the remaining GHs 1,500.00,” Hon Opoku said.
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