• John Dramani Mahama
• John Dramani Mahama

Mahama blames govt for collapse of cocoa sector

An aspiring presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has said the country’s cocoa sector is on the verge of collapse because of the mismanagement of the sector by the government. 

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Addressing party supporters and branch executives at the start of a two-day campaign tour of the Western North Region, Mr Mahama said the government’s failure to adjust the producer price of cocoa annually delayed payment of farmers for cocoa beans combined with other factors to destroy the sector.

"Under the previous NDC administration, we ensured that there was an upward adjustment in the producer price every year.

But that is not the case with this government.

Price adjustments are taking place after four years.

This is what is collapsing the sector”, he stated.

Support

Mr Mahama said the sector must be supported, noting that some farmers no longer found farming cocoa lucrative.

He referred to a farmer who said he would give out his land for galamsey because the returns were far better than farming.

"He doesn’t mind selling his farm for galamsey because there’s no profit from the cocoa business today.

Payment of farmers for their cocoa purchases is no longer instant and they do not get any bonus.

Farmers must now wait for three to four months to receive payment”, he added.

The former President is visiting all nine constituencies in the region and is expected to continue to the Ashanti Region.

 Health Minister

Meanwhile Mr Mahama has called for the resignation of the Minister of Health after he openly admitted that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has failed.

Kwaku Agyemang Manu is reported to have said the scheme is no longer working, admitting that he no longer uses the service and prefers to pay for his medical treatment.

According to him, treatment given NHIS card holders at the various facilities is below par, complaining bitterly that patients who are unable to pay are being denied access to medical services.

Responding to the Minister’s admission of failure, the former President said Mr Agyemang Manu must resign.

“He himself has admitted that he has failed. He has not been able to grow the NHIS and he says it has failed... he has no business being the minister for health. He should resign”,

Mr. Mahama said to wild applause at a meeting with branch and constituency executives of his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Sefwi Adobokrom, in the Bia East Constituency.

Providing some more detail, Mr  Mahama said NHIS card holders are being turned away from most health facilities because government is not paying their claims.

“Health facilities have not been paid since last year for services provided to card holders.

How do you expect them to continue treating them”, he asked? 

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