The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has called for stringent measures to guard Ghana’s enviable reputation as the leading producer of premium quality cocoa beans in the world.
Ghana has for decades enjoyed the first position as a producer of premium quality cocoa beans in the world, even though the country comes second to only Côte d’Ivoire in terms of production volume on the global stage. This has enabled Ghana to benefit from market price differentials, as the quality of cocoa beans contributes about 25 percent in determining the price.
Speaking at a ceremony to swear-in a five-member board of the Quality Control Company (QCC) Limited – a subsidiary of COCOBOD, Dr. Afriyie Akoto observed that Ghana must work hard to maintain the status to command a favourable market price for the commodity on the global market. “There is a history to why our cocoa beans are the best. It didn’t come by itself. Since the era of the Gold Coast, we have maintained a very consistent practice to make sure our beans have the highest quality possible,” he said.
According to him, Ghanaian farmers have been committed to the best practices in all the various processes of drying cocoa beans through natural means to sustain their quality.
This, he added, has over the years created a good image for the country—making Ghana’s cocoa the preferred commodity among other nations. “Our position is recognised by the international market. Because of our high quality, our cocoa is always used as a mixer for producing chocolate to give it the right taste. The demand for Ghana’s cocoa is very high,” he stressed.
Making a recommendation to the newly sworn-in board, Dr. Afriyie Akoto pointed out that there is more room to improve the quality level even though Ghana is still the best. He stated that the country cannot continue to behave like there is no competition, since technology is making it easier for Ghana’s competitors to emulate the processes to achieve the same feat.
To continue commanding good prices on the global market, Dr. Afriyie Akoto maintains that volumes of production alone will not increase the bargaining power of cocoa-producing countries if the value is not enhanced. “In recent years, Côte d’Ivoire’s quality of cocoa has been going up because of their adoption of the practices we have in Ghana,” he said, charging the board to be motivated to do more to be competitive.
Making some remarks, the board chairman of the QCC, Dr. Ebenezer Owusu, said the mandate of the company is to prevent the exportation of inferior or infested cocoa, coffee, shea nuts and cashew nuts to any destination in the world. He added that the QCC also inspects, samples, grades, seals and disinfect cocoa and other produce for Licenced Buying Companies.
The Chairman of the board, Dr. Ebenezer Owusu, is a Lecturer & Head of Department, Plant & Environmental Biology-University of Ghana, Legon.
The rest are Dr. Barima Afranie, a Lecturer at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Ghana, Legon and Dean of a Private Tertiary Institution with emphasis on Pharmacy; as well as Mr. S. B. Kangbere – a businessman representing the private sector. Kwaku Oppong is a businessman representing Licenced Buying Companies, and Julius Mark Kodjo Opoku Martinson is Acting Managing Director, QCC.