The Minority’s spokesperson on Food and Agriculture, Mr Eric Opoku, has said the Ghana Cocoa Board (COOBOD) under the current government, has left to rot, large quantities of fertilizer imported in 2016 by the Mahama administration meant to support cocoa farmers.
According to him, instead of distributing the fertilizer freely, the current government planned selling the agrochemical to cocoa farmers at GHS80 per bag, a move, he claimed the farmers rejected.
Mr Opoku said having failed to succeed in selling the fertilizer to the farmers, the government then decided to leave the fertilizers to rot in the warehouses.
Mr Opoku told Ghana Yensom host Kwabena Prah Jnr. (The Don) on Accra 100.5FM Tuesday, 27 November that this action by the government coupled with the failure to pay cocoa farmers what is due them, is crippling the cocoa sector.
“This government is destroying the cocoa sector. Farmers have not been paid their arrears and, therefore, cannot pay their children’s fees and other bills."
“The fertilizers the previous government imported have also been left to rot after they did not succeed in selling them to the farmers. They decided to sell the fertilizers at GHS80 per bag but the farmers resisted the move.”
But responding to Mr Opoku’s claims on the same show, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko asked rhetorically, whether the fertilizer Mr Opoku was referring to was not the agrochemical at the centre of an ongoing court case between the state and former COCOBOD CEO Dr Stephen Opuni, businessman Seidu Agongo and his company Agricult.
“Are these the same fertilizers that are in contention in court? You know the former CEO of COCOBOD Dr Opuni is in court answering questions and, so, could these same fertilizers be part of the reasons he is in court now?”
He added: “This government is not killing the cocoa sector; rather we are strengthening the sector with good policies.”