Over Inaccurate Radio Documentary
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has taken on Accra-based Joy FM, over a radio documentary on the Ghana Cocoa Sector dubbed, ‘Poor Millionaires’, saying the report was inaccurate, ill-conceived, mischievous, and full of malice.
It said, “The documentary sought to misinform the public on the CODAPEC/HITECH (Free Mass Spraying and fertilizer distribution) programme being run by Ghana Cocoa Board by portraying that the airing of the documentary has brought about massive changes in the programme”.
The documentary, hugely featured the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwadaso Constituency in the Ashanti Region, who spoke against the COCOBOD in his capacity as the Ranking Member of the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa affairs Committee of Parliament.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, went into an overdrive in his “Cocoa Politics”, berating the institution which recently rescued Ghana’s economy by halting the free fall of the cedi with a huge capital injection of nearly US$2 billion, in the documentary.
In a press statement copied to The Herald, COCOBOD insisted that the radio documentary excerpts of which has been captured in the station’s 6:00am headline news particularly on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, and claimed massive changes to the CODAPEC and HITECH programmes of Ghana Cocoa Board, was untrue.
The statement signed by the Head of Public Affairs Department of the COCOBOD, also revealed that, “the attempt by Joy FM to present Mrs. Rita Owusu-Amankwah as a spokesperson of Ghana Cocoa Board, exposes the mischief behind this documentary” as the lady in question has never worked with the Board, hence lack the authority to speak on a matter related to the board.
It was “the view of COOCBOD that the management of Joy FM, in this 21st century will be civilized enough and go by the code of ethics of modern journalism and conduct in-depth research on issues on cocoa before publishing them”.
The Board explained that “…since January 2014, Ghana Cocoa Board has reviewed the CODAPEC/HITECH programme and placed the distribution of the inputs directly under its staff in the various districts leading to the absence on our markets of the CODAPEC and HITECH inputs marked NOT FOR SALE, and not recently as portrayed in the documentary”.
“It is rather unfortunate that the documentary did not feature any of the farmers who benefitted from the supply of over 1.6 million bags of inorganic fertilizers, 220,000 bags of organic fertilizers and 1.7 million litres of foliar fertilizers distributed free to farmers across the cocoa growing regions this year”, it revealed.
It said, “Joy FM intentionally did not find a single farmer whose farm has benefitted from the over 1.3 million litres of insecticides, and 2.6 million sachets of fungicide applied on farmers’ farms. It is also intriguing to note that none of the over 5000 beneficiaries of COOCBOD Scholarships in 2014 was interviewed”.
The statement said, “it is rather interesting to know that our cherished cocoa farmers are very appreciative of the unprecedented 62.74 per cent increase in the producer price of cocoa from GHc3, 392.00 to GHC 5,520.00 per tonne and a bonus of GHC 5.00 per bag of 64kg”.
It said “Ghana Cocoa Board with the support of Government remains focused on its goals of enhancing the livelihood of our farmers and their communities. Improvements in community schools and cocoa roads and the provision of health facilities for the betterment of farmers are also on course”.
In conclusion, the Board said “we wish to remind those behind this one-sided, ill-conceived, mischievous, and malicious documentary by Joy FM that we live in a civilised society and expect them to behave as such”.