The Majority in Parliament has stated that the budget is simply not large enough to supply free fertilizer to every cocoa farmer across the country.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, William Quaitoo indicated that the free fertilizer is being done based on equity.
“The budget is simply not large enough to buy fertilizer to meet every farmer’s needs. It is not possible; else we will lose all our revenue from the sales.”
Addressing a press conference on Friday, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture and MP for Akim Oda, William Quaitoo, noted that despite drops in the world markets “the price was not increased.”
“We don’t see how the prices can be increase in the coming year when we are borrowing money to sustain the current price.”he said.
The Minority in Parliament at a press conference on Wednesday had accused the government of not looking out enough for cocoa farmers because of its decision not increase the cocoa producer price due to a fall in world market prices.
The Minority argued that, the government must utilize the cocoa stabilization fund established by the previous government, to cushion farmers instead of the insensitive approach the COCOBOD intends to use.
However, in a response Mr. Quaitoo emphasized that “stabilization is stabilization. It is to stabilize the price at that current state. It is not meant to increase it. Who can tell what will happen tomorrow? The price is still dipping.”
Aside from this, he added that COCOBOD was even dealing with debts and was looking for loans for support “so why do you increase prices when you cannot meet it… We don’t see how the prices can be increased in the coming year when we are borrowing money to sustain the current price.”
According to the Majority in Parliament, the world price of cocoa has fallen by 40percent, as it has climbed down from Ghc 3, 392 to Ghc 1,900 as of June 2017.
They also maintained that but for the stabilization fund, what was being paid to the farmers would have gone down drastically.
“We are using the stabilization fund to shore up the Producer price, so what the Minister said, he related to the reality that in the circumstance it becomes difficult perhaps to increase the price, what government is minded to is to at least maintain the price, those were the price of the minister.” Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu explained.
The also reminded the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority its time in power did not see them reach into the stabilization fund to increase the producer price of cocoa, following drops on the world market in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 crop seasons.