Stakeholders urged to sustain quality of Ghana’s cocoa beans

cocoaStakeholders in Ghana’s cocoa industry have been asked to maintain the quality of the country’s cocoa beans.

The call was made when about 100  cocoa  depot and  warehouse keepers in the Central Region, attended a day’s  capacity building workshop on sanitary  and Phytosanitary standards  (SPS) in Cocoa Production.

The trainer of training workshop was organised by the Quality Control Company Limited a subsidiary of Cocoa Board  in collaboration with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Africa Cocoa Project, International Cocoa Organisation , Crop Life, United Nations Development Organisation and EDES-COLEACP, on the theme:  “Good  Warehouse Practices  in  the Cocoa Industry”.

The workshop, which was held  in Assin Foso  in the Central Region, among other things  educated the participants  appropriate  depot  keeping, to help  mitigate the harmful effects of pesticide, residue and other contaminants in cocoa to help maintain  market access.

It was also to establish appropriate and correct procedures for the implementation of good warehouse standard practices in order to meet SPS standards as well as to understand the importance of food hygiene and safety.

Mr  Thomas  Kwame Osei Acting Managing Director of  Quality Control Company (QCC)  said  although  the nation’s cocoa beans have  received  international recognition due to its good  quality,  it is imperative for  stakeholder in the cocoa industry to help sustain the good quality by ensuring  good hygiene practices.

He noted with concern that in recent times  there has been  complaints in the international market pertaining  the quality of cocoa from Africa due to the excessive use of chemicals,  which ends  up contaminating the crop.

Mr  Azalekor William a Principal Research officer , who took the participants through an over view of  “SPS Africa  Cocoa Project”, said it is  a two -year programme of which five African  cocoa growing countries , made up Ghana, Cote D’lviore , Nigeria  Cameroun  and Togo are beneficiaries.

He said the aim of the project is to ensure that all stakeholders in the cocoa industry   understand and adhere to SPS  and food  safety standards along the cocoa value chain as well as engage  in self- assessment  with regards to compliance of SPS and food safety  standards.

He said under the phase one, all stakeholders in the cocoa industry including farmers, depot and warehouse keepers,  purchasing  and marketing clerks, transporters and staff at the various ports would be given adequate training  on how to  properly handle cocoa beans  to avoid contamination and to ensue easy access to the international market.

Mr  Francis Enyan, Acting Deputy  Regional manager  in charge of Western South  Region-Dunkwa, who  took the  participants through among others, good warehousing/storage practices, shed sanitation,  general safety and security  of warehouse, warehouse hygiene ,sanitation  and cleanliness, warehouse management and warehouse personnel, pointed out that QCC is mandated by law to ensure cocoa industry regulation.

He said it is unhygienic for one to walk on cocoa beans during drying, bulking and bagging and that warehouses,  should be adequately lit and ventilated, without leakages and spillages on the floor.

Mr Noah Kwasi Ababio Prah, Deputy Central Regional Manager of QCC, warned that it is an offence  for one either to sell or buy un-dried cocoa beans.

Source: GNA

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