The best time to begin our own cocoa processing - 2019 International Cocoa Awards winner
CEO of Korboe Farms and 2019 International cocoa awards winner, Samuel Tetteh Korboe
The CEO of Korboe Farms, Samuel Tetteh Korboe has said that Ghana must improve its capacity to begin cocoa processing in the midst of the challenges made apparent by the coronavirus pandemic within the global cocoa market.
According to the winner of the 2019 International Cocoa Awards, this is the time government must create and enhance the indigenous market for cocoa processing.
“This challenge is worldwide. That’s why I feel hurt realizing Ghana does not have a warehouse for storage of cocoa beans. This could be the best time to store these beans and begin our own local processing. So that instead of exporting seeds that nobody will buy now, we can improve local markets,” he said in an interview on his farm in Akyem Tafo, Eastern Region.
Mr Korboe owns a 45-hectare cocoa farm and is expecting a harvest of 160 cartons of cocoa beans this cocoa crop season. However, the impact of the novel coronavirus has heightened his concerns of not being able to get a market for his produce because foreign buyers are not able to conduct business at this time.
He is not the only farmer worried. Amos, another cocoa farmer also made clear how anxious farmers have been with regards to the disruption of their incomes because of the coronavirus pandemic and called on government to support them.
According to Amos, “the emergence of covid-19 has scared cocoa farmers. This business is all we’ve got. We wonder how cocoa sales will boom this year. We know the government has its priorities on covid-19 but we implore for some interventions.”
Ghana’s cocoa sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus. The country has already lost $1 billion in the past two months and the $3.5 billion syndication loan which government is expecting to boost the 2020/2021 cocoa season is being stalled.
The Chief Executive of Cocobod, Joseph Boahen Aidoo has made public that the pandemic has thrown into disorder global chains of cocoa. This he says will drag the acquisition of the cocoa syndication loan for the 2020/2021 cocoa crop season.
As a result of this, Ghana’s commitment to enhance refinement processes and ensure that more than 50 per cent of locally produced cocoa beans will be processed have been strained.
Last year, the government of Ghana and Ivory Coast, which in combination produces 60 percent of the world’s cocoa, announced a fixed price premium of $400 a tonne over the benchmark cocoa futures price, for every contract sold by either country for the 2020/21 season. Amidst “cocoa cartel” brandishing of this partnership by western media, President Akufo-Addo said this joint effort will not be derailed, because Ghana’s “cocoa farmers get less than 10 percent of the value of a bar of chocolate”.
But the current situation makes it difficult to make an appraisal of future import and export sales because of the pandemic’s incessant disruption of global supply chains, which is affecting manufacturing processes around the world and thereby causing friction in local producers. The cocoa sector contributed up to 10% of Ghana’s GDP in 2018.