NPP accuses NDC of being fraudulent with cocoa prices

CocoaThe minority New Patriotic Party(NPP) caucus in parliament on Tuesday accused the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of being fraudulent and corrupt in fixing the recent cocoa producer price of GH¢475 per bag for the 2016/2017 crop year..

The NPP described the price as rather low, adding that instead of admitting to the widespread discontent and offering the long-suffering farmers a price closer to GH¢600 per bag of 64 kilogrammes (kg) each, the government had resorted to propaganda.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minority Spokesperson on Cocoa Affairs, addressing a press conference at Parliament House, in Accra, said: “The low producer price they are paying to cocoa farmers is as a direct result of the fact that the gross proceeds from cocoa exports are riddled with fraud and corruption perpetrated by the NDC government.

“That is the real reason why they are not providing sufficient incentives to farmers by giving them a remunerative price.”

He alleged that in the cocoa growing areas of Sefwi, Nzema, Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Akuapem, Kwahu and Volta, NDC propagandists were going round with rumours that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the NPP presidential candidate, had not co-operated with international banks to attract higher cocoa producer price.

Rather, President John Dramani Mahama signed the document, Dr Akoto said, adding: “The NDC are attempting to shift the blame for the slave-wage cocoa prices from themselves to the innocent NPP flag bearer.

Dr Afriyie Akoto said the claim by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) that it spent more than $838 million in 2015/2016 importing and distributing fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals for cocoa farmers needed to be verified.

Besides, he said, another claim that the $150 million was spent on cocoa roads needed to be explained.

“It would be important for COCOBOD to provide the names and locations of the farmers and the quantities of fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals supplied to them,” he said.

Dr Afriyie Akoto  attributed the massive leakage of imported chemical inputs to smuggling to neighbouring countries which had denied farmers the much needed inputs and reduced their yields.

He also said the leakage had cut the amount available “to pay remunerative prices to cocoa farmers”, adding that chemicals, which had been imported and distributed to farmers, had not been tested.

The NPP said, in spite of the huge amounts involved in the construction of cocoa roads, the contracts for the construction and maintenance of roads in cocoa producing areas were sole sourced with inflated quotations.

Source: GNA

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