Saturday, 20 December 2014

Ghana's Cocoa Industry Needs Niche All-Terrain Specialist Logistics Companies

As somone who grows organic cocoa, and whose family has farmed cocoa in Ghana's Eastern Region since  the early 1900s - from the days when British colonialists occupied our country - I am always on the lookout for innovative ideas that will redound to the benefit of smallholder cocoa farmers.

A major hurdle to getting bags of cocoa beans out of many cocoa growing areas is the poor state of the road network in those areas. Many of those roads are virtually impassable during the rainy season. The Western Region is a case in point.

It was for that reason that when I heard that a Ghanaian-American couple were investing in all-terrain ex-US military truck-trailers designed to literally deliver loads (including the Abrams tank - the US military's heaviest tank) to battlefields anywhere on the surface of the planet Earth, I encouraged them to focus on the cocoa industry - as their all-terrain truck-trailers would be a godsend for cocoa buying companies servicing smallholder farmers in areas with impassable roads.

Perhaps if there is one new year resolution that cocoa farmers who farm in hard-to-access areas with impassable roads would like Dr. Opuni, the Ghana Cocoa Board's (COCOBOD) hardworking CEO, to make and keep,  in 2015,  it would be that in the new year the  COCOBOD will work with niche logistics service providers like Roudofa Ghana Limited, and encourage them to build up their all-terrain truck-trailer fleet strength quickly, as well as roll out modern workshop facilities and warehouses.

Ghana's cocoa industry could do with niche all-terrain logistics companies that can haul bags of cocoa beans from cocoa-growing areas that ordinary truck-trailers cannot venture into because the roads there are in such a poor state. It will help increase smallholder cocoa farmers' income in many areas of the Western Region.

That is why the COCOBOD must encourage companies like Roudofa Ghana Limited to build up their fleet of specialist all-terrain truck-trailers, by working with them.

Working with the COCOBOD could enable such companies leverage low-interest credit facilities in the U.S. to enable them rapidly build up their fleet strength sufficiently to make a real difference for Ghana's cocoa industry.

To increase the tonnage of cocoa beans it processes locally and exports,  Ghana's cocoa industry definitely needs niche all-terrain specialist logistic companies, to enable all the bags of cocoa  beans locked up in hard-to-access areas, to be evacuated. So,  as we say in local parlance: "Dr. Opuni, over to you, Joe Lartey."

 Finally, happy holidays, to all those whose dedication and hard work, sustains Ghana's cocoa industry - which still remains the backbone of our national economy.

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