The Former Minister for Works and Housing in the erstwhile Mahama administration, Hon Collins Dauda, has disclosed that poor prices for cocoa produce have been a major motivation factor for galamsey activities in our cocoa growing communities.
The Akufo-Addo government in his first term of office, from 2017 to 2019, did not make an upward increment in the price of cocoa beans until the 2020 crop year where Gh₵40 increment was announced by the government for that crop season.
Speaking in an interview on Masemtvgh on Thursday, April 22, 2021 on the recent report in the news on a possible ban on Ghana’s cocoa beans as a result of the impact of galamsey activities on the beans, the Asutifi South Member of Parliament urged the government to rather seek for the welfare of cocoa farmers to get the best out of them.
”I have not seen the report of the research findings and that i cannot speak to the content. I will rather call on our research scientist to engage in an independent research on the subject to comeout with their reports on these claims” he said.
Hon Collins Dauda however, was not surprised by the content of the research findings that were solely commissioned and funded by China, that seek to compete with Ghana in the cocoa market.
”I am not surprised that China, which is set to engage and export cocoa to the world market, will comeout with such reports in order to have an edge in the world market” he added.
According to Hon Collins Dauda, government must put out policies that will focus on the welfare of cocoa farmers rather than paying huge sums of money to those at the offices.
”For the past two years, those at the COCOBOD offices have had an astronomical increment in their salaries as compared to the meagre price increment in cocoa produce by farmers. If the CEO of COCOBOD is reported to be paid almost one hundred thousand ghana cedis (Gh₵100,000.00) every month, and the meagre amount that are to be paid to farmers for their cocoa beans are not being received, then it becomes a threat to cocoa farmers who may be motivated to release their land to others to engage in galamsey”.
”From December 2020 to April 2021, not a single cocoa farmer in my community has received a pesewa for his or her cocoa beans sold to the government”.
The Member of Parliament appealed to the government to initiate motivating policies for cocoa farmers that will urge them to keep their cocoa farms rather than releasing their lands for galamsey activities.
”During the time of President Rawlings, a lot of cocoa farmers lost their farms in the 1981 bush fire but President Rawlings came out with policies that energised a lot more farmers to go back into cocoa farming. Under Presidents Mills and Mahama, they brought up free fertilizer policies, gave out bonuses and continued with the cocoa mass spraying exercise that was initiated by President Kufour and that the Akufo-Addo government must comeout with equally viable measures to urge our cocoa farmers to produce more quality beans” he said.