Palm Wine Joint

The Agric Minister Needs to be Fired

Dr-Afriyie-Akoto

Back when I was a young Savage, I had a video shoot for one of my ditties. I had on set on lady who used to be my “stylist”. I had a stream of female friends on set, one of them being my FWB. In the course of the shoot, I had to change into a new costume. My “stylist” went to the bathroom with me to see to that. While in the bathroom, she suggested I take a shower before wearing the new costume. Taking a shower before dressing meant we spent more time in the bathroom than usual.

Minutes after we came out, my “stylist” asked me if my FWB was my girlfriend. I asked why she was asking that and she said my FWB was watching her like she (my “stylist”) was trying to take her property. There is a look for that!? I didn’t know about that till then. It’s one of those moments I realized that little things matter to people. Many relationships have been ruined by single words. Some have been ruined by “it’s not what he said but how he said it.”

A lot of Americans say Trump is the worst president they have had. Not because of anything in particular he has done but things he has said. Every Trump policy can be justified from an ideology standpoint but people have issues because of his words. Words matter. Life began with words. Human life begins with words. You have to talk someone into doing the deed that would lead to her carrying your baby. If you believe in the Bible, the world began with words (Genesis 1:1).

We vote politicians based on the words they tell us. “One District, One Factory” were just words but we fell for them and voted for the Nana Akufo Addo and his cohorts. It’s been two years since the New Patriotic Party came to power. It looks like the NPP leaders have not yet come to the realization they have won the elections and are the party in power. I have heard them still blame Mahama for problems we are facing. Like yo, folks, we voted you because we thought Mahama was bad for us. You lost the right to shift blames on him when you were voted to solve probems he created.

Case in point, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture. On Thursday, December 27, 2018, I saw a documentary dubbed Plastic Chocolate on Joy News. The documentary was about the traditional leaders in Akyem Breman in the Eastern Region converting cocoa farms into rubber farms. A Cocoa Extension Officer, some farmers and their dependents were interviewed and they bemused how the development has caused hardship in the community. A SHS dropout, Janset, was interviewed and he told a sad story about how his father’s status changed from a rich cocoa farmer to a pauper overnight. He spoke how his family has broken down because of the lack of money and how it has affected his father’s health.

The story the people told gave the impression that, the community used to benefit from the production of cocoa. Most of the farmers had the cocoa farms on a tenancy basis. In spite of that, they made enough money for themselves, their families and even the proper owners of the land. The community doesn’t benefit from the production of rubber since the rubber-growing farms have been sold to companies outside the community. The traditional leaders, from what I understood, took a decision that was good for them, the allodial owners of the land, and their pockets but bad for the community. They have a right to do so. The people in the community can only cry foul.  So they cried foul.

The Minister of Agriculture was interviewed about his position on the matter. He said the dumbest thing any politician has ever said in the history of Ghana politics. He said, “If producing cocoa was profitable, people won’t be converting their cocoa farms to rubber farms.”

The Minister missed the point of the cry of the people.

I get it. There is very little the government can do about the situation. People have a right to use their land for anything they want. The point here is, the traditional leaders, who are holding the land in trust of the people, according to the proposed Land Act, decided to betray the trust of the people. The Minister of Agriculture in Ghana, the third largest cocoa production country in the world said, they are free to do that because COCOA IS NOT PROFITABLE. Yes, he meant they did what they did because growing cocoa is not a profitable venture.

People need jobs. On paper, our country seem to be doing well but on the ground it is not. More and more people are losing their jobs and money. The Minister of Agric in a government that promised to create has been presented with facts as to why people are using jobs and poverty is skyrocketing in a community in the president’s region and his response to that was, “If cocoa was profitable…bla bla bla…” And he still has his job. His job is to solve problems. In this case, he was presented with a problem, instead of solving it, it is insulting the people with the problem. In a serious democracy, his head will be on the table right now.

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