Using tech for cocoa production not economically lucrative – COCOBOD
Public Affairs Manager for the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Fiifi Boafo has stressed that with the right technology, one can grow cocoa in any part of the world regardless of the weather condition.
He considers it reasonable for cocoa to be produced on a small scale with technology but however insists it is not cost-effective to do so for commercial purposes.
Fiifi made this comment after recent news broke that China had cultivated and exported some cocoa beans to Belgium which raised concerns in Ghana.
Addressing these concerns, he said, “The Island where the cocoa was grown does not support the crop’s cultivation but with technology, one can grow cocoa anywhere but it is expensive. It comes at a cost. The question is what kind of technology is China using for the project? What is the cost if they are doing it for commercial purposes? If they are cultivating the cocoa for commercial purposes, can they bear the cost? If they can’t, then it doesn’t make economic sense. We can plant cocoa up North or in Burkina Faso but that doesn’t make economic sense”.
On the consumption side of things, Fiifi notes there is a school of thought that questions the quality of the Chinese cocoa beans if they are produced in large quantities.
He assures that the processes used in drying Ghana’s cocoa give it a special flavor and “that is why it is in high demand. The quality of our cocoa varies from most cocoa-producing countries. China’s cocoa-growing breakthrough doesn’t mean they can destroy our business but it makes us aware of the possibility of the cultivation of cocoa worldwide which we need to prepare for”.
On his authority, Ghanaians should not be afraid of the Chinese breakthrough. “It is true the Chinese can achieve all they set their minds to but that shouldn’t scare us. Looking at the cost involved, it will be impossible for them to produce on a large scale”.
The Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) recently reported that South China’s island province of Hainan had exported cocoa beans to Belgium for the first time.
The China Daily newspaper quoted Hao Zhaoyun, a researcher with CATAS. as saying: “The first batch of 500kg of cocoa beans, worth $3,600, (8 bags) was produced in Xinglong, a township of Hainan with a tropical climate.”