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Cocoa farmers advised to adequately ferment cocoa beans

BY: Edward Acquah
advised to cocoa farmers
advised to cocoa farmers

A Senior Research Scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Mr Stephen Opoku, has advised cocoa farmers to patiently ferment their cocoa beans for a required number of days before drying them.

That was because failure on their part to do so could pose a threat to the quality and market value of Ghana’s cocoa beans on the international market.

He said a post harvest analysis conducted by the CRIG had revealed that some cocoa farmers
“impatiently” fermented their cocoa beans for only three days instead of undertaking the exercise for a minimum of six days.

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Such practices, he stated, had the potential to reduce the flavour and quality of the cocoa beans, which he added, were the key characteristics that attracted buyers.

“The flavour, richness of the butter and physical characteristics all go into determining the quality of the cocoa
beans which attracts buyers.

The fermentation stage is essential in the determination of all these components that has given Ghana the competitive edge over other cocoa producing countries.”

Mr Opoku gave the advice in an interview with the Daily Graphic when a team of tourists visited the CRIG at Akim-Tafo in the Eastern Region yesterday.

The tour, organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority, in collaboration with the Ghana Cocoa Board and the Ghana Education Service, formed part of activities marking 2019 Chocolate Day celebration.

Low yields

Mr Opoku further stated that the inability of some cocoa farmers to experience higher yields was attributable
to failure on their part to adhere to the required practices outlined by the CRIG for the cultivation of the various varieties of cocoa beans.

He stated that the environment under which a bean would be cultivated, the nature of the soil, shade level and planting distance, were key factors that influenced the rate of yield of cocoa within a period of time. “The yield potential of the varieties we develop here is between 1.5 to 3 tonnes. However, that can be realised if the farmer applies the package that goes with a variety,” he stated.,” he stated.

He, therefore, urged various agriculture extension officers in cocoa growing areas to intensify education in the area and monitor the activities of the farmers to
ensure compliance.

Launch

The Ghana Tourism Authority launched the 2019 Chocolate Day celebration on the theme: “My chocolate experience.” As part of efforts to boost the consumption of cocoa products among the citizenry, the GTA toured some institutions such as Senior High Schools, the CRIG, the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Farm and the Jubilee Cocoa Farm in Akuapem Mampong.

At the various destinations, the Senior Public Affairs Officer of the CRIG, Mr Lloyd Brobbey Adasi, explained the purpose for the establishment of the various sites and the significant role they played in enhancing the production of cocoa in the country.

Briefing

Briefing the press at the end of the tour, the Acting Chairman of the National Chocolate Day celebration, Dr Edward Amporful, revealed that the Ghana Cocoa Board had advanced plans to incorporate free chocolate drinks into the menu of the National School Feeding Programme to boost the consumption of cocoa among schoolchildren.

“Our per capita consumption of cocoa is 500mg per person. This is very poor for a country that is one of the leading producers of cocoa,” he stated.