Speaking at Brekum, a cocoa growing community in the Amenfi West Constituency, during a two-day tour of the constituency, Dr. Bawumia recalled the strides the cocoa sector made under the leadership of President John Kufuor and the NPP and how the sector is now struggling and declining under the NDC.
“If you look at this farm behind us, most of the Cocoa trees in it are dying. The Cocoa industry itself in Ghana is collapsing. If you look at the Cocoa Sector in the Ivory Coast and you look at Ghana, there is a clear difference in how the sector is going. Under President Kufuor, the NPP raised Cocoa production from 341,000 tonnes to about 700,000 tonnes by 2008. Thanks to the good work of the NPP, Cocoa Production hit the historic 1 million mark in 2010/2011. This was due to policies like the Mass Spraying and Fertilizer Subsidy programmes as well as other policies.
“Now these have collapsed. The NDC introduced politics into the Mass Spraying policy for example. They forgot that Cocoa farms are like a network and so if one farm gets damaged, it would spread to other farms and so it is not smart to discriminate like the NDC has done because it is farmers who create wealth for this country and so by helping farmers, you are helping Ghana. Any government that therefore does politicization with a sensitive issue like Cocoa is only damaging Ghana. This is why the economy of Ghana is going down at the same time cocoa is going down,” he said.
Dr. Bawumia explained to the farmers Nana Akufo-Addo’s vision for the cocoa sector when elected.
He indicated that the NPP will aggressively pursue policies that will ensure that an additional 500,000 metric tonnes is added to the current output in 10 years and that the achievement of this vision will be hinged on supporting the hardworking Cocoa farmers to produce more and bring more trees into cultivation.
“Under the NPP, our view was that for Ghana to do well, cocoa must do well. It is because of this we introduced the mass spraying programme and fertilizer subsidy program.
“Our policy is to immediately restore the Mass Cocoa Spraying and Fertilizer Subsidy programmes as well as a policy to supply and bring new seedlings into cultivation because withoutthis, the Ivory Coast will leave us behind and we will soon fall below 500,000 tonnes but our vision is to introduce policies that will see the addition of 500,000 tonnes to the output now. It is going to be an intensive exercise and we will support our Cocoa Farmers greatly to achieve this because when Cocoa does well, Ghana does well but the NDC has failed to realise this.
“If you go to the Ivory Coast, Cocoa production is going up, yet when you come to Ghana, it is falling. This means that there is a problem in Ghana and that problem is the failed NDC policies in the cocoa sector,” he added.
Dr. Bawumia took the opportunity to visit various Cocoa farms in Berekum and other communities in the Amenfi West Constituency to find out about the extent of decline in the sector.
He was accompanied on the tour by the Parliamentary Candidate for the area, Paul Dekyi and visited over 20 communities including Woman No Good, Bena, Oforikrom, BenaNkwanta, NyameBekyere, Ohiampeanika, Wansema, Ntaaboo, Bisaaso, Mumuni, Pataase, Torompan, Nope, Mmoframfaadwen, Ayensukrom, Gravel Yard, Ahwiam and Prestea Nkwanta.