Okyenhene advocates change in cocoa purchasing policy

The Okyenhene in a chat with Mr. Genfi

The Okyenhene in a chat with Mr. Genfi

The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, is advocating a change in cocoa purchasing policy to allow cocoa farmers sell their product to whoever offers the highest bid.

 

According to him, the current arrangement which empowers the government as the sole purchaser of all cocoa produce in the country has rendered farmers in the country poor and discouraged many Ghanaians from engaging in agriculture.

 

He said it was a ‘socialist’ arrangement that has outlived its purpose and must be scrapped to save the cocoa industry from further collapse.

 

The Okyenhene made the call yesterday when a team made up of board members, management and staff of the Export and Import (EXIM) Bank paid a courtesy call on him at his residence in Accra.

 

Led by the Board Chairman, Kwadwo Boateng Genfi, other members of the team included Chief Executive Officer, Lawrence Agyinsam, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka Lindsay, Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, among others.

 

“This is the time to transform Ghana. The current cocoa purchasing policy is archaic and has ensured that our hardworking farmers have had to deal with poverty for a long time. How can someone work tirelessly in his or her cocoa farm and afterwards the buyer rather set a fixed price for the produce? Such a socialist idea cannot function effectively as we move to build a capitalised economy,” he stated.

 

Government, he said must allow individual farmers to sell their cocoa to the highest bidder either in Ghana or a foreign entity and tax the accrued revenue accordingly.

 

Such an arrangement, the Okyenhene said would ensure that cocoa farmers derive maximum revenue from their cocoa produce.

 

He commended the bank for supporting initiatives that adds value to agricultural product to be exported for foreign exchange and reduce import of such goods into the country.

 

“With what the EXIM Bank is doing, which I am certain is the right way if we desire to build a strong economy, we can pursue a change that would create the environment for growth, foster employment creation and provide livelihoods, thus propelling poverty eradication,” he added.

 

The Okyenhene charged the team to diligently work to support the realisation of government’s vision to build an industrialised economy independent of foreign aid, saying that the success was dependent on the work and behaviour of appointees.

 

“We can’t allow corruption to take over us. It cannot always be business as usual. We have the human resource to cause the change we desire so I’m confident you will make us proud,” he added.

 

Mr. Genfi said the visit was to seek the support of the Okyenhene in undertaking projects and initiatives in line with government’s policy to establish at least one factory in all 216 districts of the country.

 

On his part, Mr. Agyinsam noted that all the projects by the bank was to transform Ghana’s economy into export-led with a focus on adding value to agricultural produce including poultry, cashew, cassava, oil palm, as well as garment.

 

Currently, he said the bank was working to ensure existing industries were given stimulus package to be able to flourish while a further 34 projects have been approved by the board for implementation.

 

Earlier, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Nana Ama Poku, in an interaction with the media said the bank has earmarked GHȻ750 million to support EXIM businesses and the One-District One Factory programme.

 

So far, 15 factories, she said have been started in various locations across the country while eight pharmaceutical companies have received support to be able to expand and meet international manufacturing standards.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

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