Minister for Food and Agriculture Hon Owusu Afriyie Akoto has recalled how majority of Cocoa farmers looked up to his father to protect their interest during the era of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
He said that agitations which was raised by farmers after they realised that Nkrumah has failed them in his promise to double the then Cocoa producer pricing to five pounds per ton found favour with his father Baffour Akoto.
“In the 1950s, Baffour considered the actions and inactions of government as deceitful and detrimental to the Cocoa farmers whose sweat constituted the backbone of the country’s economy.
One of the major issues after the 1954 elections had to do with Cocoa producer pricing and tax deductions from Cocoa.
Nkrumah had promised that the Cocoa producer price would be doubled to five pounds per ton.
But eventually the government pegged the price at 72 shillings (three pounds twelve shillings).
This enraged Cocoa farmers… This sharp agitation found favour with Baffour Akoto, who himself at the time was one of the biggest Cocoa farmers in the country. The farmers looked up to him to protect their interest.”
The honourable Minister also indicated that the youth in Ashanti were also getting increasingly concerned with the propaganda which was waged by the CPP against traditional authority, targeting chiefs in particular.
“They were anxiously looking for someone in authority to lead them to halt the undermining of the traditional order. The rising concerns of both the Cocoa farmers and the youth (in Ashanti) conspired to pile political pressure on the prominent Baffour Osei Akoto to provide leadership. So on the 7th of September 1954, he led a large crowd of supporters to slaughter a sheep in the sacred river which runs through the centre of Kumasi to symbolise the birth of the National Liberation Movement (NLM).
Minister for food and Agriculture made this statement in his address on the occasion of the 2021 RE: Akoto Memorial Lectures.
By Enock Akonnor; Editor-in-chief