President of the concerned farmers association of Ghana Nana Opambuor Oboadee Osei Bonsu II says farmers of the association will feed their cocoa produce to pigs if sector minister for agriculture is not sacked.
An agitated Nana Oboadee who gave the warning during an interview on the Rite Morning Ride on Wednesday with host, Omanba Kodwo Boafo said Dr. Akoto Owusu Afriyie’s “arrogant posture” towards farmers was unbecoming of a Minister of State appointed to serve the interests of those who feed the country.
The call from the president of the association stems from allegations that the ministry was distributing fertilizers with a November 20, 2018 expiry date to farmers, stressing that members of the association would have no option but feed their cocoa produce to pigs if their call is ignored.
“My question is can fertilizer due is to expire on the 20th of November be used now without any side effects,” he quizzed. “Call the Food and Drugs Board and the Center for Scientific Industrial Research and find out from them.”
“We will continue to farm (if the minister is not sacked) but our cocoa farmers will not sell our produce to the government. Instead, we will process it into powder or feed the produce to pigs,” he threatened when asked what farmers will do if their request was not heeded.
Two weeks ago, Nana Opambuor Oboadee Osei Bonsu dragged bags of fertilisers to Parliament where he joined the Minority in Parliament for a pre-budget press conference that highlighted farmers’ struggle under the Nana Akufo-Addo government, a development the deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of cocoa, Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko describes as political.
Nana Oboadie Boateng alleged that after a change in government, the new government locked up the fertisliers in warehouses across the country.
Farmers have constantly complained that the fertilizer distribution chain had been ‘ambushed’ by local power brokers who divert the supplement.
According to the farmers’ spokesperson, the distribution restarted only after it was realized that the yield-boosting supplement was approaching expiration.
The Akufo-Addo government re-introduced the policy of subsidies on fertilizers. A bag of granular fertilizers is to be sold at GH¢80, slashed from GH¢171.75 representing a 53.4% reduction.
Liquid fertilizers sold at GH¢105 was slashed to GH¢20, an 80 percent fall in prices.
According to Nana Opambuor, “farmers can no longer work with the agric minister. He deceived us that the Fall army worm invasion had been brought under control only for him to tell us later that “the worms are here to stay”. We also want him to account for the Ghc 16m given to the ministry of agric to fight the FAW invasion,” he called adding that the group is not alleging corruption by the minister but only want him to account for the funds allocated to his ministry.
The Food and Agriculture Ministry has said it spent 16m cedis on bringing the invasion that affected more than 112,000 hectares of farm fields under control.
But responding to the call, Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of cocoa, Mr. Kennedy Osei Nyarko described the call as politically motivated.
Mr. Osei Nyarko also speaking on the Rite Morning Ride on Wednesday denied that expired fertilizer was being distributed to farmers.
“It is not true that expired fertilizer is being distributed to farmers,” the minister asserted. “The government always makes provisions to purchase fertilizers for cocoa farmers.”
The group earlier in February this year in describing Dr. Akoto Owusu Afriyie as the worst Agric Minister, demanded his resignation, arguing that contrary to his claims that the Fall Armyworm invasion was over, there was more than enough evidence in most farms in the country, that the pests continued to devastate farms.
According to them, the arrogant posturing of the Minister, coupled with his unwillingness to engage farmers on critical policy issues is affecting the progress of the Agric sector.
“We want him to be sacked. He is the worst Agric Minister so far in the country and we want him sacked,” Mr. Boateng complained.