Fiifi Boafo: Regulating cocoa processing firms in the best interest of the sector

Fiifi Boafo, director of public affairs of the Ghana Cocoa Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says regulation of cocoa processing firms is in the best interest of players in the sector.

Speaking to Nana Yaa Mensah on the Asaase Breakfast Show on allegations of over regulation of cocoa processing firms, Fiifi Boafo said the move is to ensure high standards are maintained.

“Every organisation or industry that does not have rules regulating the industry, it becomes difficult and sometimes it becomes difficult when you leave it in the hands of people to do what they want but when there are rules and regulation guiding the sector it helps shapen it,” he said.

Boafo added “Of course, I admit that in some instances you may find some regulations hindering the growth of that industry, but that does not mean you don’t need to be guided.”

He believes players in the cocoa processing sector must explore other means of accessing their beans.

“If you want to buy beans, you must buy beans from COCOBOD because if you look at the kind of investment we make into the industry and then of course to also ensure we maintain quality there must be a rule guiding the entire process, ” he added.

The director of public affairs at COCOBOD argues that relaxing the regulations may results in compromising on health and safety in the value chain.

Call for review of policies

Meanwhile Preba Arkaah, founder of the premium chocolate company Mansa Gold, is advocating an immediate review of policies which ban manufacturers of cocoa products from buying cocoa beans directly from farmers in Ghana.

She argues that the law in its current state makes it difficult to attract indigenous entrepreneurs into cocoa processing ventures such as chocolate-making, thereby affecting investment into the sector.

Speaking with Nana Yaa Mensah on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Wednesday (3 February) about entrepreneurship and cocoa as part of Asaase Radio’s Cocoa Affair – a month-long season of programmes – Arkaah said the law is not in the interest of Ghanaian investors who might want to support the manufacturing of cocoa products such as chocolate.

Making Ghana chocolate

“The law actually says that nobody can buy directly from the farmer,” Arkaah said. “Now you and I know that if you are going to do something, you must experiment. And if you are not growing the item yourself the only way you can experiment is if you can acquire that item.”

She added: “It is the only reason we don’t have an indigenous chocolate industry in this country. It is because we have legislated against it.

“If we want to make real change and grow the industry, we must address this part of legislation.”

Over-regulation

Arkaah also expressed reservations about COCOBOD’s decision to regulate activities of players in the cocoa processing sector.

“We are also facing an attempt to legislate us from COCOBOD … I understand and everyone understands that cocoa is a major source of revenue for Ghana.

“We accept and understand that, but there is no reason why we should not have this source of revenue and at the same time extrapolate that out and gain additional revenue from growing a new industry,” she said.

Job creation

Arkaah is hopeful that if the policy is reviewed it will encourage more Ghanaian entrepreneurs to venture into cocoa processing, and thereby create more jobs.

“We will be creating jobs locally. At present, when we talk about encouraging processes, most of the processors we have are the big companies. You can see they have set up huge operations here in Ghana because they make an awful lot of money.”

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