Ghana’s cocoa beans, have won admiration from the chocolatiers at this year’s ‘Salon du Chocolat’ in Paris – France for being a world market premium quality beans.
The event, is an assembled of over one hundred (100) chocolate manufacturers in the world, cocoa producing countries and chocolate industry players, including manufacturers of chocolate machinery.
‘Salon du Chocolat’, 2016, could best be described as a confluence of crème de la crème of cocoa, chocolate producers and chocolatiers.
Upon tasting various chocolates from Ghana, visitors to the exhibition, commended Ghana for its unique cocoa tastes and flavours over a variety of cocoa beans by cocoa producing countries like Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Mexico, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Mauritius, Togo, and many others, was exciting.
The exhibitors, had displayed the finest chocolates in various shapes, designs, flavours and colours to the admiration of the visitors.
The leader of the Ghanaian delegation, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), assured the international chocolate companies that Ghana would continue with the supply of premium quality cocoa to the world market.
With the implementation of the adopted interventions including free fertilizer distribution, mass cocoa spraying, free distribution of hybrid seedlings, cocoa farms rehabilitation together with other programmes being implemented in the cocoa industry, premium quality cocoa beans would be supplied to the local and world markets.
Speaking to some officials of the world’s finest Chocolates producing companies including Meiji, Guittard, Choco Roi and several others at the
‘Salon du Chocolat’ in Paris, France, Dr. Opuni indicated that Ghana will in all earnest continue to be the market leader in premium quality cocoa production.
Dr. Opuni assured the chocolatiers that ‘the Ghanaian cocoa farmer by virtue of the skill and training in cocoa handling will produce the best cocoa beans that the world major chocolatiers so much love and use as important ingredient in chocolate making.
Meanwhile, COCOBOD, as part of efforts to encourage the younger generation to go into cocoa farming, has sponsored two young cocoa farmers to attend the 28th World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) Partnership Meeting and Cocoa Sustainably Trade Fair in Cote d’Ivoire, Abidjan.
Mrs. Lucy Addai-Poku, a Professional Teacher and MacCarthy Kojo Doh, a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon– both farmers from the Ashanti and Western Regions respectively, are among the thousands of Ghanaian youth who have embraced the Youth in Cocoa Programme.
At the conference which brought together cocoa industry stakeholders from around the globe, Lucy and MacCarthy were exposed to presentations which focused on encouraging youth engagement in the cocoa sector.
The youth were urged to make good use of the incentives available to them and enter into cocoa farming as a business. Issues about deforestation and cocoa sector as well as efforts being made to ensure sustainable livelihoods for farmers in cocoa growing countries featured prominently on the agenda.
In a brief presentation at the conference, Mr. Doh, on behalf of Ghanaian youth appreciated the Management of COCOBOD for introducing interventions aimed at ensuring sustainable cocoa production in Ghana.
He mentioned the Free Seedlings Distribution programme which provides early bearing and high yielding planting materials to farmers at no cost, the Free Fertilizer Distribution Programme which is helping to improve upon soil fertility and increase yield, the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme which has facilitated the replanting of large hectares of over-aged, moribund and diseased farms as well as the Youth in Cocoa Initiative which is curbing the ageing-cocoa-farmers situation in Ghana.
Both Lucy and MacCarthy, agreed that there are fine opportunities in the cocoa business, especially for young men and women, and urged all to come on board to increase the country’s annual production levels.
“The programme has helped me interact with people from other cocoa producing countries and non-governmental organizations. It was an interesting programme, educative and inspiring”, said MacCarthy Doh, adding that he had been able to learn a new skill on how to manage and raise the cocoa seedlings during the dry season and when there is less rainfall by applying the method called Drip Irrigation System. According to him, this method helps prevent young cocoa seedlings from dying during the dry season.
On her part, Mrs. Lucy Addai-Poku was optimistic empowering women to go into cocoa farming is a prerequisite for poverty alleviation in Ghana. She called on women to adopt modern methods to boost their farming operations.
COCOBOD, has for the past three years, sponsored several young farmers to attend international cocoa events in Europe, Asia, America and Africa with the utmost aim of exposing them to modern trends in cocoa production.