The ranking member on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwadaso, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has challenged President John Mahama to tell farmers the true state of agriculture in Ghana under his (Mahama’s) tenure as the nation celebrates Farmers’ Day today.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE after making his contribution to the debate on the 2016 budget statement, the Kwadaso MP said that the budget had clearly indicated that the agricultural sector grew at zero percent – meaning that under the current National Democratic Congress (NDC) government agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy, has slumped from 7.4% in 2009 – when the administration took over power – to 0% as at now, while the crop sub-sector is experiencing negative growth.
“Farmers across the nation are now worse off. Their incomes have significantly dwindled and cannot pay for their wards’ school fees as well as their hospital bills,” the ranking member said, stressing that farmers cannot get better access to protein, making them look malnourished.
“The over five million farmers in the country have been rendered very poor because of the bad policies adopted by this government,” he said, adding that the president keeps promising farmers on each ‘Farmers Day’ but those promises are always unashamedly broken by the president.
“Farmers in the country must not take the president’s promises seriously again because he keeps on promising farmers of improving their lots but they end up rather becoming poorer and neglected.”
He observed for instance, that cocoa farmers continue to be cheated by the NDC government even though it is by their sweat that the economy keeps on running.
“I have always said that cocoa farmers deserve better prices and regular bonuses but this uncaring government will let these farmers suffer and come and buy their products at ridiculous prices, even though world prices of cocoa keep on increasing appreciably every season,” Dr Afriyie Akoto pointed out.