An ultra-modern cocoa museum to memorialise the father of the cocoa industry in Ghana is to be built at Mampong in the Eastern Region.
The US$3 million Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum, a one-stop microcosm of the industry, showcasing, under one roof, the upstream and downstream operations of the industry, is in furtherance of the government’s policy to promote the local consumption of cocoa and increase the contribution of the golden tree to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ms Catherine Ablema Afeku, who announced this exclusively to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra, said the feasibility report and architectural designs were ready and the project would take off in February, after traditional rites by the Mamponghene.
The museum will have Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm, where tourists will see a live demonstration of the actual planting of the seeds, the agronomical practices of the farmer, the harvesting and drying of the seeds. The next level will be a walk-through experience of the various stages of cocoa processing where the bean is processed into raw cocoa powder and the cake from which Ghanaian and multinational companies manufacture the world’s favourite chocolates, wines and spirit, body creams and beverages, among other products.
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There will be an exhibition centre where the history, tools and background of cocoa farming in Ghana and its socio-economic impact on the society will be on display in text, live narration and other formats.
Visitors will also have the privilege to view the life of Tetteh Quarshie, both in the Gold Coast and in Equatorial Guinea. Already, the Minister said, “we have had discussion with the Equatorial Guinean Ambassador who has assured us of co-operation, including making available to us, artefacts from the area where Tetteh Quarshie lived in that country which used to be known as Fernando Po. This, naturally, enhances cultural and economic cooperation between the two countries.”
From the exhibition area, bridges will be provided, linking the various floors to the natural outdoor environment. There will also be a boutique for the retail of made-in-Ghana cocoa-based products and other souvenirs.
For the “total Ghanaian experience,” she said, there will be a 40-seater amphitheatre for cultural activities and other outdoor functions. A 60-seater multi-purpose hall will also be available to host conferences and other meetings.
Mrs Afeku announced that one hectare of the Tetteh Quarshie Farm within the museum will be set aside for visitors to plant a cocoa tree. The tree planted will be nurtured into maturity and there will be a mechanism by which the name of the visitor will be attached to the tree.
This way, she said, generations yet unborn would grow up to appreciate the individual contribution of people, both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, to the expansion of Ghana’s cocoa industry. “This cocoa tree-planting act,” she added, is both physical and symbolic.” Symbolically, “it helps to psyche Ghanaians into the realisation that it is a blessing to give.
“We are doing this not only to lure nature tourists, provide employment and increase GDP, but also to honour our cocoa farmers to whom we owe everything. We are doing this also to increase Ghanaians’ knowledge of the one industry that has made it possible for all of us to enjoy education, health care and other economic and social benefits.
“Can you imagine that there are Ghanaian children who eat chocolates or drink cocoa beverage but have never seen a cocoa pod, a cocoa bean, or know next to nothing about how these lovely chocolates and drinks are made? The Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum will cure all that. From all over the country, we expect children to undertake excursions to this place. For them and for many adults, it will also be a pilgrimage to the Father of Ghana Cocoa.”
She referred to Basel, Switzerland, which has a centre where people go to undertake research on cocoa, with tonnes of material on Tetteh Quarshie. She also mentioned the famous Sugar Museum in Mauritius, and said “the Ghana Cocoa Museum will be world class, to the glory of our cocoa farmers. All these will happen under the leadership of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”
On financing, Mrs Afeku said the museum would be built under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
“We already have a private partner. It will interest Ghanaians to learn that this private company, whose identity will be disclosed at a later date, is putting in its money, not expecting to be paid back. It is a company that has been in the country operating in the cocoa sector for over 30 years and feels this is thank you time.”
In the same spirit, the ministry is expecting other cocoa producing, processing and marketing companies to “chip in something to top it up.” In return for the investment, she promised that plaques will be erected all over the museum acknowledging the contributions.