Former President John Mahama did so much for the cocoa sector than the Akufo-Addo government can ever do, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, an opposition MP for Juaboso has said.
He explained that during the Mahama administration, the cocoa sector recorded high yields due to the good policies introduced by the government at the time.
The lawmaker said, for instance, the mass cocoa spraying exercise was scaled up, which helped cocoa farmers combat pests and disease.
He told Accra News on Tuesday, 23 July that major cocoa roads were given a facelift by the Mahama government, as part of plans to invigorate the sector.
Mr Akondoh’s comments come on the heels of a challenge thrown at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to provide evidence of any policy implemented during the Mahama administration to improve the cocoa sector and agriculture in general.
Speaking at a durbar held in Daboase, the capital of the Wassa East District, as part of his two-day tour of the Western Region, Nana Akufo-Addo argued that the NDC government failed to sustain the gains chalked by the Kufuor administration in cocoa production.
“I want to hear from them what they are going to say to this challenge: we’re challenging them to come and tell us what they have done that has boosted agricultural production, cocoa production in Ghana,” he dared.
“I can tell you the answer in advance; it's zero, zero, that’s the answer.”
But Mr Akandoh told Nana Ansah Sasraku in an interview that: “It is obvious that the people around President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo are misleading him because the facts are there to show that President Mahama did well in the cocoa sector.”
“Under the NDC, the mass cocoa spraying exercise was increased and that resulted in high yields,” the former deputy minister of Lands and Natural Resources added.
“Cocoa roads were also reconstructed as part of the previous administration’s plans to assists the cocoa-growing areas in the country.
“Cocoa farmers under the NDC did not buy fertilisers for their cocoa, they were supplied by the government because we knew the impact of fertiliser on the farmer.
“Ghana recorded the highest cocoa yield in the country’s history during the period of Professor Mills through to John Dramani Mahama.
“In fact, in the 2016 and 2017 cocoa season, we recorded more than 900,000 metric tonnes of cocoa due to the good policies of the NDC that the NPP inherited. But as I speak to you now, President Akufo-Addo’s own budget statements for 2017, 2018 and 2019 show a decline in the production of cocoa.
“Cocoa production is experiencing a dip under this administration because the farmers do not have money to buy the fertilisers. The fertilisers that were supposed to be released to them have been left to rot”, the MP added.
According to him, free cocoa seedlings were supplied to cocoa farmers across the country under Mr Mahama that helped the farmers to shore up their production, and, so, wondered what President Akufo-Addo was talking about.