The Ghanaian subsidiary of the US food giant, Cargil, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, took out a full-page advert in the Thursday, September 10, 2009 edition of the Daily Graphic newspaper, to help publicize the new chocolate milk drink it is producing in Ghana. The bottle has the advertising slogan “The good taste of Ghana” blazoned on it. The clever marketing team at Cargil, is obviously leveraging Ghana’s good image in the international community as a haven of peace and stability, in choosing that slogan.
One wishes that those in charge of the cocoa processing plant that Nkrumah built at Tema, would also be so positive in their outlook! Speaking as someone who farms cocoa organically at Akim Abuakwa Juaso, I was alarmed, when I heard one of the gentleman in charge of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), incredibly telling the world, during an interview with one of Accra’s many FM radio stations (incidentally, I forget precisely which one it was – but I have a feeling it might have been in one of Joy FM’s business news bulletins), that the company had imported (or was going to import!) about 5,000 metric tonnes of cocoa from a neighbouring country: because Ghana’s cocoa beans command a “premium price.” Apparently, that shortsighted move will save the CPC money – and it is said that the company will still produce chocolate of “acceptable quality.” He topped that inanity by adding that chocolate manufacturers elsewhere blend various grades of cocoa to produce chocolate.
It obviously escapes the geniuses who run the CPC that those manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere, are not in the lucky and happy position, of being able to manufacture their products in Ghana – which produces the world’s best quality cocoa beans. Incredible. Why, do those who are going to ruin the hard-won reputation of the CPC’s famous dark chocolate, not realize that the “premium quality” cocoa beans from Ghana enable their products to occupy a niche in the global market for dark chocolate? Perhaps it will interest them to know that a dear friend from Pennsylvania in the US, who loves chocolates and speaks highly of the CPC’s range of dark chocolates, will be horrified to hear that the chocolate she thinks is one of the best in the world, is now about to take the slippery slope to ruination – because of the shortsightedness of those who run the factory that produces it.
On behalf of Ghana’s many long-suffering cocoa farmers, I humbly appeal to the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Board and the minister for trade and industry, to order the CPC to stop importing any more cocoa beans from outside Ghana, henceforth. Surely, in the internet age, it is not asking too much, for even the most unimaginative of Ghanaian corporate leadership, to strike a partnership with the Ghana Post – so that the CPC can sell its marvelous dark chocolate worldwide online, using their EMS global parcel delivery service? Has it ever occurred to the denizens of the corridors of corporate power at the CPC that they can sell their dark chocolate and other products as niche products, which ought to be bought at a premium: precisely because they are made from the best cocoa beans in the world? Let them rescind that shortsighted decision immediately. The leadership of the COCOBOD and the ministerial team in charge of the ministry of trade and industry must step in to halt this pure nonsense on bamboo stilts – and do so now! A word to the wise…
Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghan that actually works): + 233 27 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodafone wireless smartphone number: + 233 21 976238.