Minority raises alarm: Government to use $5m cocoa loan to buy chocolate

The Minority in Parliament has revealed that the government has planned to pump a whopping $5 million out of a 600 million-dollar loan meant raise cocoa production in the country to purchase chocolate for students.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South and Ranking Member for Parliament’s Agric committee, Mr. Eric Opoku made the revelation to Kwame Minkah on Power FM’s Dwaboase Monday morning.

He explained that the $600 million is a capital injection to raise the country’s cocoa production level.

Currently, Ghana produces 850,000 tonnes of cocoa, making it the second-highest producer of the cash crop globally, after Cote D’ Ivoire.

The loan which the Akufo-Addo government secured from the African Development Bank (AfDB) is to increase the country’s cocoa production to 1.5 million tonnes in a seven-year development programme to transform the cocoa sector – production and processing in the country.

CEO for COCOBOD, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, told pressmen over the weekend 140 million dollars of the loan facility would be used to eradicate the swollen shoot disease while 82.7 million would go into the planting of new cocoa trees.

He added, $68 million of the facility will be channeled to hand pollination and pruning practices, $50 million for warehousing, cocoa farmer electronic database, and 200 million into processing and value addition.

But Mr. Eric Opoku, who believes the government needs to do more for the cocoa sector, argued that there is a move by the government to purchase $5 million worth of chocolate for students.

“The government wants to buy the chocolates for students with funds meant to increase cocoa production. What sense does this make?” the former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister said.

To him, the move is counterproductive and a clear diversion of funds which will not help the cocoa sector bedeviled with loads of challenges.

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