Concerned Farmers Association of Ghana ( CFAG), mainly from the Farmers Base Organizations (FBOs) are calling on the Economic and Organized Crime Office(EOCO) to launch a long scale investigation into the activities of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture(MoFA) and it Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto.
According to the Concern farmers, the Minister failed to consult a notable group like the Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen (GNAFF), although they wanted to make inputs into the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
President of the Association, Nana Oboadie Opambour Boateng Bonsu II , made the call at the Minority Round Table Discussion in parliament on Tuesday Morning November 13.
He said, they wants the Agric Minister to account for the money that was earmarked for last year to fight the fall Army Worms as well as the Farmers Day celebration, since according to them, Dr Afriyie-Akoto, said there was no money for the event, yet awards were given out to some framers.
“We want EOCO to investigate Dr. Afriyie-Akoto for the first tranche of the money used for the Planting for Food and Jobs, before the next phase starts or as farmers, we will demonstrate against the programme”, the farmers have warned.
Nana Boateng Bonsu II, noted that, farmers are not happy that the Minister upon all the available groups that were willing to partake in the programme, he by passed them even after they called on him to do so.
“None of the associations was involved, we approached him at the Ministry but he told us he has only 45 minutes with us and that he has an important meeting, he told the Minority MPs in parliament.
He said all Farmer Base Organisations (FBOs) and the Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen had availed themselves but the Minister instead asked them to register as individuals and so they were not motivated to take part.
“Planting for food and jobs are they involving us the farmers? They are just doing things on their own because of pure partisan politics”, he said.
He decried while there are many abandoned warehouses and silos built by Dr Kwame Nkrumah that needed only rehabilitation, the Minister was adamant “sitting in Accra” even in the face of his claim that they have recorded bumper harvest.
Nana Boateng Bonsu II, also questioned why the Ministry, whose duty it is to provide education and training for farmers, would go to the extent of hijacking the Planting for Food and Jobs meant for the various associations, which are important players and say that “They are doing the right thing”?
“If they clam there was bumper harvest – under the Planting for Food and Jobs -, then they should account for it. They should publish the districts and names of the farmers and individuals they have paid these money too. If they have not paid, then it means causing financial lost to the state”, Nana Boateng Bonsu said.
He accused the Ministry of selling expired fertilizer to farmers and as well called for the removal of the Board Chairman of COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu Agyeman, for supporting the cutting down cocoa trees for rubber plantations by foreign companies.
The Concerned Farmers Association President, also expressed concerned, how farmers who work to feed the nation suffer, yet policies by government do not benefit them,saying “but politicians who claim to be working for them, live lavishly” at their expense.
The concerned farmers also want to know the sources of the items and how they were distributed insisting, successive government, cannot continue to use the name of farmers to source for money and then they as farmers do not benefit from such money.
They said, Dr. Afriyie-Akoto and his team are not transparent to farmers.