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Blame Mahama, Swollen shoot disease for low cocoa production – Agric Minister

Ralph

Aug. 12, 2020

The Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr. Afriyie Akoto has blamed Ghana’s dwindling cocoa production on the Mahama administration and the swollen shoot disease.
Ghana’s cocoa production has been declining in recent years after picking up in 2016/17 crop season.
The country recorded 969,511 metric tons in 2016/17 but fell to 904,740 in 2018 and 811,606 in 2019.
Answering questions from Sagnerigu MP ABA Fuseini on the floor, Dr. Afriyie Akoto blamed the development on the swollen shoot disease and former President Mahama.
According to him, the Mahama administration failed to roll out adequate measures to fight the disease which he said has affected trees replaced.
Meanwhile, the minority in parliament has charged management of COCOBOD to reduce reliance on loans to finance its operations. This follows approval of $1.3 billion dollars for purchase of estimated 900,000 tones of cocoa beans for the 2020/2021 crop season.
Presenting the report of the finance committee, Chairman for the committee Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah explained the facility will be drawn down on need basis to ensure funds are available to purchase the beans from cocoa farmers.
Part of the facility will also be used for construction of cocoa roads.
Adaklu MP Governs Kwame Agbodza questioned failure of government to make public a report on audit of previous contracts awarded under the cocoa roads project following allegations of corruption against the Mahama administration.
Speaking to the media after proceedings Ho Central MP and a member of the finance committee Benjamin Kpodo tasked management of COCOBOD to avoid wasteful expenditure in order to wean itself of constant borrowing to purchase cocoa beans.
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