The COCOBOD CEO Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo has lambasted former President John Mahama for doing nothing to improve the lot of cocoa farmers during his tenure, but turning around to incite farmers against the current administration.
Hon Boahen Aidoo added that someone who supervised the total collapse of the cocoa sector under his regime has no moral right to criticise the Akufo-Addo government working hard to revamp the sector.
Speaking on OTEC FM’s breakfast show, ‘Nyansapo’ Thursday, the COCOBOD CEO said Mr Mahama was being economical with the truth.
Mr Mahama, the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), during his tour of the Western region described as sheer wickedness the government’s decision to stop the supply of free fertilisers to cocoa farmers.
Rather, he said the Akufo-Addo government has allowed the fertilisers to expire and later thrown away.
He explained that, they changed from the free fertiliser distribution to subsidy because it was not getting to the farmers.
But Hon Boahen Aidoo who refuted that claims revealed that, the NPP government under Nana Akuffu Addo has introduced artificial pollination, pruning, motorized slashes and cocoa mass spraying, among others,” adding “all these policies are geared towards improving the lot of the farmers and boost cocoa production”.
“I challenged the former President to show Ghanaians one policy his government adopted to boost cocoa production in the country,” Hon Boahen Adioo told the programme’s host Captain Koda.
“We have a case when the father of an NDC Member of Parliament was arrested smuggling the free fertilisers meant for the farmers. The end result was a total collapse of the sector,” he stated.
Hon. Aidoo is convinced if former President Mahama had looked beyond partisan politics and continued with the subsidies, Ghana would have recorded one million tonnes of cocoa.
He cited how former President John Kufuor supported farmers with a policy of subsidy, and the country’s cocoa production increased steadily from 350,000 tonnes in 2000 to 765,000 tonnes in 2008 and late President Atta Mills maintained the subsidy policy leading to Ghana recording one million tonnes in 2011 to buttress his point.
The COCOBOD boss said when the subsidy policy was reinstated under President Akufo-Addo, production bounced back to over 900,000 tonnes.
“Cocoa farmers now get about 20 bags on an acre due to the subsidy and other interventions introduced by government,” he added.
Hon. Aidoo said they are working to achieve the one million tonnes by 2020.