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‘What African producers should do with cocoa beans, others’

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FILE PHOTO: A worker holds cocoa beans at export firm SAF CACAO in San-Pedro, Ivory Coast.REUTERS/THIERRY GOUEGNON/FILE PHOTO

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A professor of Human Anatomy and promoter of cocoa consumption for better health, Frederick Kwaku Addai, in Ghana, has welcomed China into cocoa export trade and encouraged African producers to explore value chain development.

He said African cocoa producers need to be discouraged from exporting only cocoa beans and get serious at adding value and promoting local consumption of cocoa-based products.

Adding value, he said, would boost wealth and job creation, gross domestic products, and local consumption that would oil the African economies.

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“Despite the knowledge that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire account for over 50 per cent of world cocoa output, they receive less than 10 per cent of the world chocolate revenue. No serious effort is being made to lay claim to fair share of post-bean cocoa revenue. Why? In Ghana, I sense that we’re too satisfied announcing the tonnage of cocoa beans exported every year.

“You know my obsession with promoting natural cocoa consumption for incomparable health benefits just as I know your campaign to deepen production in Nigeria to explore and exploit the cocoa value chain,” Addai said.

Addai said conservatively, with appropriate efforts, African countries producing cocoa could grind and consume 60 per cent of output, saying, “Our people will be all the better for it in more ways than one.”

He said based on studies, there is scientific evidence that just as natural cocoa is an anti-malaria prophylactic, daily drinking of cocoa will prevent COVID-19, and ablate the inflammatory storm in patients who have contracted it.

He added: “So, I actually pray that external market for cocoa beans collapses to force our governments to give the needed priority to processing cocoa locally and promoting local consumption!!

“This is the way I see China becoming a cocoa exporter as a huge blessing to African cocoa producers.”

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On ways to increase productivity of cocoa farmers, he said adoption of the Indonesian/Malaysian intensive farming practices would help.

He disclosed that the Southeast Asian cocoa producers average five to eight times yield per hectare than West African producers.

“We need to be alert to emerging concerns relating to “tree crop plantation” and how this negatively impacts tree variety in forests.

“I recently heard on BBC radio, a school of thought, that cocoa production negatively impacts forest ecosystems and by extension, climate change.

“I’m not at all in favour of increasing cocoa production by putting more hectares of forest under cultivation. With improved planting seedlings as indicated by CRIN, adopting intensive farming practices can create significant cocoa output without increased acreage.”

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