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Minority raises concerns about $600m cocoa loan

The Minority in Parliament has described as counterproductive the 600 million dollar capital injection into the cocoa sector.

Ranking member on the Agric, Food and Cocoa Affairs Committee, Eric Opoku, said the utilisation of the proceeds of the loan from African Development Bank will not inure to the benefit of cocoa farmers.

Parliament approved the $600 million loan agreement for the Cocoa Productivity Enhancement Project. This is to enable Ghana Cocoa Board to undertake initiatives such as mass cocoa spraying exercises, agronomic support and input subsidies.

This is part of government’s plan to increase the country’s cocoa production to 1.5 million tonnes in a seven-year development programme to transform the cocoa sector.

But, Mr Opoku on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme, Thursday argued that the agreement is not in the best interest of the country, hence the resistance.

He questioned the utilisation of 68 million dollars for hand pollination; 200 million dollars to promote local processing of cocoa, 140 million dollars to eradicate the swollen shoot disease, while 82.7 million would go into the planting of new cocoa trees among others.

Hon. Opoku, who is also the Member of Parliament for Asunafo South, said the outrageous figures are a clear diversion of funds which in his opinion should have been given as incentives to farmers.

He revealed that, the Minority members on the Agric Committee in Parliament will soon tour the cocoa growing areas for firsthand information on how the loan facility will be utilised.

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