Farmers were very happy with the Lithovit fertilizer – Defense witness in Opuni trial

Dr Stephen Opuni
Dr Stephen Opuni

Mr Peter Okyere Boateng, the sixth Defence Witness, in the case involving Dr Stephen Opuni and two others, says Regional Managers in Cocoa Regions came to lobby him for more Lithovit liquid fertilizers.
He said this was because their farmers in the regions and districts were very happy with the Lithovit fertilizer and that its efficacy was stated in their reports, they wrote about Lithovit and made very good commendation of the product.
Mr Boateng, who is a retiree of COCOBOD, in his evidence in chief led by Mr Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni, said he first heard of Lithovit from the Regional Managers of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD during their monthly report meetings.
Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.
They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GHS300,000.00 self-recognisance bail each.
He said the structure of CHED at the time, when he used to work there, required that every month, meetings were held at the Head Office in Accra with the Regional managers in the Cocoa Regions.
He said this meeting enabled the Managers to account for the activities undertaken within the month and this was done in the form of presenting written reports to which they had to speak to during the meetings.
The witness said as the then Deputy Executive Director of CHED and having been close to all the Regional Managers, before a meeting started, they came to his office and told him what was happening in their respective Regions and the kind of assistance they needed from him.
He said in that case, some of them especially those who had used the Lithovit in their Regions “came to lobby me to speak on their behalf and this gave me ideas that the product Lithovit was a good agro-chemical for the farmers.”
Mr Boateng said the Regional Managers indicated that they had personally observed that the farmers, who were supplied with the Lithovit liquid fertilizer and who subsequently applied it on their farms had had massive increase in their yields.
The witness said the Managers said those farms were carrying heavy loads of pots and that they even challenged him “to come around and see for myself.”
He said upon the call from the Managers and with his scheduled visit to those regions, he did pay them the visit but not solely to look at the impact of the application of the foliar fertilizers.
Mr Boateng said he had scheduled visits in April 2015 to the Brong Ahafo Region, while other teams went to the other regions to inspect ongoing activities.
He said during the visits, he had various aims and objectives and it was in those areas that he embarked on the field trip.
Firstly, to inspect the state of the various nurseries to ascertain the readiness of the Cocoa seedlings been raise by CHED for distribution and to inspect farms being rehabilitated and to know the level of progress made.
The visit is also to determine the state of the Cocoa crop for the light crop season that COCOBOD was about to enter, and it was just like crop forecasting.
“The visit was to look at the efficacy of the Lithovit liquid fertilizer in the applied farms as reported by the Regional Managers in this case of the Brong Ahafo Region,” he said.
The former Deputy Executive Director of CHED said he was to meet all the field officers in the various districts within the region to learn from their problems and comments on the various programmes and activities.

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