From Kwesi Alfred Adams, Takoradi
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bia East, Dr. Augustine Tawiah, and the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Alfred Amoah, both in the Western North Region, have clashed over the recent producer price of cocoa as announced by the government .
Whilst the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai MCE is hailing the government for increasing the producer price of cocoa, the MP Augustine Tawiah argues that the increment was nothing but a sham.
It is on record that the price of cocoa in Ghana has been increased by 8.42 percent, moving the price of a 62.5-kilogramme bag of the commodity from GH¢475 to GH¢515 for the 2019/2020 cocoa season.
The government has decided to increase the price of cocoa by 8.42 percent, consequently, a tonne of cocoa will attract a price of GH¢515, a Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Nurah Gyeile, announced in Sunyani on Tuesday, October 1.
Following the increment, the MCE for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai and the Bia East MP, who come from the predominantly cocoa growing area, have been at each other’s throats over whether or not the government should be commended.
Speaking on Lord FM, a local radio station in the area, MCE Amoah commended the government for the increment, saying, cocoa farmers in the country, and for that matter those in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipality, welcome the government’s increment.
He explained that President Akufo-Addo administration, which has brought good interventions into the cocoa sector, coupled with the producer price increment, would automatically lead to high cocoa yields.
Mr. Alfred Amoah cited examples of government interventions such as the mass cocoa spraying exercise, cocoa rehabilitation initiative, providing plantain suckers, increasing extension services, and others which are helping farmer’s combat pests and disease, saying, “I encourage farmers to continue their good work and address issues confronting them to the appropriate quarters to solve it amicably.”
But his counterpart on the other side of the political divide thinks otherwise. To Dr. Augustine Tawiah, the new price of cocoa did not correspond with the efforts of cocoa farmers.
He said the ruling government lied to Ghanaians about the cocoa price in their 2016 campaign to secure power, and the reality has now dawned on them to make what he described as ‘sham’ increases in cocoa prices.
Below is Dr. Augustine Tawiah’s post on the producer price of cocoa as announced by the government.
The government announced an increase in cocoa producer price by more than eight percent for the next crop season last Tuesday in Sunyani. This means that a 64-kilo bag would now be sold at GH¢515 as at GH¢475, while a tonne would go for GH¢8,249. It has been announced that cocoa prices will go up by 8.42%. This is nothing to write home about. The cedi has depreciated by 9.5% to the dollar in the last year. So what good does the so-called increase do for the farmer?
Not much. Indeed, the government is not doing anybody a favour. The purchasing power of the farmer doesn’t get any better. The gains are swallowed up by inflation. Juxtaposing the propagandist lies of the NPP in 2016, that the NDC was cheating the farmers, who they claimed was due GH¢700. People when in opposition said so much. Now in government, we realise that these blatant lies were told merely to get the nod. How can you go on like this and expect a renewal of your mandate? Ghanaian farmers, let’s rise and show the NPP the exit in 2020, they have no message for the farmers. Their promises are merely a laundry list of propaganda.