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General News of Thursday, 8 October 2020

Source: Starr FM

Fact checker: NPP’s claim that Cocoa production fell year-on-year under Mahama mostly false

CLAIM: Production of Cocoa declined drastically year on year under John Mahama’s presidency.

VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE

FULL TEXT:

In the last one week we have seen a rise in cocoa politics between the governing NPP and the opposition NDC as election 2020 inches closer.

NDC flagbearer John Mahama reignited the partisan debates about records in the sector with his campaign tours in the Bono and Western North Regions where he interacted with chiefs and farmers in cocoa-growing areas.

Among the many things, the former President challenged the NPP to produce the report of the audit done on cocoa road projects.

Source:https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/abandoned-projects-mahama-asks-akufo-addo-to-produce-cocoa-roads-audit-report/?fbclid=IwAR3o67Niq40Gq8o6XT6o1y8XyqQR6TQHE5AoRlnpEB-Nx3pkyZN8AKSihQE

He also described the announcement of the new producer price of cocoa as a vote buying gimmick. There have been many reactions to the comments made by John Mahama- COCOBOD CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo has asked the former president to “shut up” on cocoa issuesSource:https://starrfm.com.gh/2020/10/shut-up-on-cocoa-issues-cocobod-ceo-to-mahama/

The NPP’s communications directorate has organized a news conference to set the records straight about which President has done what when it comes to the cocoa sector. The press briefing organized on Monday October 5, 2020was addressed by NPP communications director Yaw Buaben Asamoa.

At that event, Yaw Buaben Asamoa contrasted the governing NPP’s achievement in the sector with what he said was high level of mismanagement, corruption and incompetence that characterized the Mahama led administration in the cocoa sector.

The NPP communications director claimed that production of cocoa declined drastically year-on-year under John Mahama as president

“Production of cocoa having risen to a high 1 million metric tonnes per annum as a throughput from the progressive policies of the Kufour administration declined drastically year on year under candidate Mahama as president. He could not even sustain the gains protected by his predecessor President the late John Atta Mills”–Yaw Buaben Asamoa said.

Seeing as it is not the first time this year that the two main political parties have sparred with each other on the subject of cocoa, Starrfmfactchecker deems it necessary to subject this claim made by the governing NPP to some checks.



VERIFICATION:

In verifying this claim, Starrfmfactchecker relied primarily on information and statistics from theGhana Cocoa board, the institution in the country whose mission is to “encourage and facilitate the production, processing and marketing of good quality cocoa, coffee and sheanut in all forms in the most efficient and cost effective manner”.Source: https://cocobod.gh/about-us

Data from the Ghana Cocoa board website, https://cocobod.gh/ confirms that Ghana recorded a high production of more than 1 million metric tonnes of cocoa in the 2010/2011 crop season. Specifically the amount of cocoa produced that year was one million twenty-four thousand five hundred and fifty-three (1,024,553) metric tonnes.

The figure represents the highest cocoa production since 1947/1948 crop year. The increased production occurred under the NDC government led by the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills. Although the governing NPP claims that output was based on the policies of the previous Kufuour administration, Starrfmfactchecker is unable to verify that because that falls in the domain of impact assessment.

What we can verify based on records published on the Ghana Cocoa board website are the statistics for cocoa production each year and whether the data shows a drastic decline in cocoa production year-on-year under John Mahama as claimed by Yaw Buaben Asamoa.

The Ghana Cocoa board website https://cocobod.gh/ gives a breakdown of regional production of cocoa beginning from the 1947/1948 crop year up until the 2018/2019 crop year. For the purposes of this fact check, we will use statistics provided from 2012/2013 to 2016/2017 crop year, the period when John Mahama was president of the country.

In the 2012/2013 crop year the total production of cocoa was eight hundred and thirty-five thousand,four hundred and sixty-seven (835,467) metric tonnes. That year, Western Region was the leading producer with four hundred and fifty-eight thousand, one hundred and seven (458,107) metric tonnes.

The region maintained its spot as the country’s leading producer in the 2013/2014 crop year, contributing four hundred and eighty-two thousand, six hundred and ninety-one (482,691) of the year’s total eight hundred and ninety-six thousand, two hundred and twenty (896,220) metric tonnes of cocoa. The following crop year(2014/2015), Ghana produced a total of seven hundred and forty thousand, two hundred and fifty-four (740,254) metric tonnes of cocoa; again the Western Region was the highest producer recording three hundred and eighty thousand, four hundred and sixty-nine (380,469).

In the 2015/2016 crop year, a total of seven hundred andseventy-eight thousand and forty-four (778,044) metric tonnes of cocoa was produced in Ghana with the Western Region accounting for four hundred and fifteen thousand, three hundred and two (415,302) metric tonnes for that year. Ghana came close to repeating the record breaking 1 million tonne production in the 2016/2017 crop year by reporting nine hundred and sixty-nine thousand, five hundred and eleven(969,511) metric tonnes.

Statistical breakdown of regional cocoa production in Ghana between 2012/2013 and 2016/2017 crop years.



Source: https://cocobod.gh/cocoa-purchases

DO THESE FIGURES REPRESENT DRASTIC DECLINE IN COCOA PRODUCTION YEAR-ON-YEAR UNDER JOHN MAHAMA?

To effectively answer this question, there’s the need to define two key phrases- “drastic decline” and “year on year” as used in the claim by NPP communications director Yaw Buaben Asamoa.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “drastic”as “extreme in a way that has a sudden, serious or violent effect on something”.

Source:https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/drastic.

The same dictionary defines the word “decline” as “a continuous decrease in the number, value, quality, etc. of something”.

By inference, drastic decline means an extreme and continuous decrease in the number, value or quality of something.

The Macmillan Dictionary defines the term “year-on-year” as a phrase used for talking about situations in which something continues to change or develop every year.

Source:https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/year-on-year

Another definition of “year-on-year” found on www.lexico.com explained the phrase as comparison of figures, prices etc with the corresponding ones from a year earlier.

In simple terms then, a year-on year comparison of production in the cocoa sector will be a comparative analysis of the amount of cocoa produced in one crop year with the year before.

The statistics provided on the website of the Ghana Cocoa board show that there was an increase of sixty thousand, seven hundred and fifty three(60,753) metric tonnes of cocoa for the 2013/2014 crop year (896,220 metric tonnes)compared to the 835,467 metric tonnes for the 2012/2013 year.

However there was a decrease in production in the 2014/2015 crop year when Ghana recorded 740,254 metric tonnes compared to the previous 2013/2014 year. The exact decrease was one hundred and fifty five thousand, nine hundred and sixty-six (155,966) metric tonnes.

In the 2015/2016 crop year, production increased by thirty-seven thousand, seven hundred and ninety (37,790) metric tonnes from the figure recorded in the 2014/2015 year (740,254).Ghana’s cocoa production increased by nearly two hundred thousand metric tonnes in the 2016/2017 crop year from the figure recorded the previous year.



CONCLUSION:

Yes, the country has not been able to repeat the feat of 1 million tonnes achieved in the 2010/2011 but the data shows the amount of cocoa produced in the country has been fluctuating.

It is evident from the facts provided that although there was a decrease in total production for the 2014/2015 crop year compared to that of the 2013/2014 year, the other crop years saw an increase in cocoa production on year-on-year basis.

For there to have been a drastic decline year-on-year in cocoa production for the period under review as claimed by the Adentan MP, the amount of cocoa produced in Ghana should have decreased each year from the 2012/2013 crop year to the 2016/2017 crop year when John Dramani Mahama left office.

From the foregoing, starrfmfactchecker finds the claim made by NPP communications director Yaw Buaben Asamoa that production of Cocoa declined drastically year-on-year under John Mahama’s presidency, as mostly false and is therefore rated three stars.



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