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General News of Friday, 3 May 2002

Source: Chronicle

How Abodakpi sabotaged Darko Farms

A leading Ghanaian poultry farmer and industrialist, Rev Kwabena Darko, has finally unveiled the why his company’s partnership with the world’s largest chicken producers, Tyson Foods of Arkansas, in the United States of America (USA), failed to materialise.

He said the failure was due to a calculated plan by the past NDC government who made several provocative remarks, which sabotaged the deal. Rev Darko, who disclosed this to Chronicle in an interview, revealed that the deal had almost gone through when the former Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Dan Abodakpi, made a dramatic announcement on GTV, kicking against the deal.

He told Chronicle that the remark created the impression that the Darko Farms Company Limited and Tyson Foods’ collaboration was a disincentive to the production of local chicken. According to the poultry magnate, Mr Abodakpi’s remarks created a panic reaction from the directors of Tyson Foods in the USA, whose spontaneous reaction was to immediately abrogate the partnership agreement.

His dream of making Ghana net producers of Chicken within the West Africa sub-region was derailed. According to the Managing Director of Darko Farms and Company Limited, under the agreement with Tyson Foods, Darko Farms was to produce about 500 thousand birds a week. The deal would have provided an opportunity for those in the local poultry industry as well as maize and Soya beans growers to have a ready market for their produce. The abrogation of the deal therefore dealt a big blow to and ran counter to the NDC’s so-called efforts to attract foreign investors.

Rev Kwabena Kwabena Darko also told Chronicle that it took him 10 years to win the confidence and trust of the directors of Tyson Foods leading to the partnership deal. He pointed out that while the negotiations were going on several high profile meetings were held, one of which was even attended by ex-President Rawlings where he asked the investors why over the past years they were not responding to the government calls to invest in the country.

According to Rev Darko, Tyson Foods representative at the meeting told ex-President Rawlings that their private sector does not work with government, but works with the private sector, like Darko Farms. He said he spent quite a fortune on what turned out to be a wasted effort, adding that he however, does not regret trying to bring Tyson Foods to Ghana.