Dedicated to Mawuena Trebarh
Ghana producing 30% of the world production of cocoa beans – the best in the world – is number two behind Ivory Coast in this industry. As much as Ghana used to be called “Gold Coast”, the identity of Ghana is not the precious metal in which big players are involved mainly, but cocoa. Long time when Gold will be no more in Ghana’s soil, cocoa beans will be with Ghanaians for thousands of years to come. Cocoa is the identity of Ghanaians!
Again this year, an annual ritual, Ghana Cocoa Board is borrowing USD 1, 7 Billion on the international market to buy cocoa beans from Ghanaian farmers. The price that is fixed daily on the international market is not the price the farmer gets for his cherished harvest, in fact far less. The difference in price should have enabled Ghana Cocoa Board to better the situation of their farmers. Partially it is used to subsidize fertilizer, finance the Cocoa Institute and free seedling Programmes. The Board in itself is costly, inefficient and corrupt from top to bottom and does not understand how to make profit out of this business to better the conditions of the farmers…60 years after Independence!
The money in this industry is NOT made by producing the cocoa beans, but in trade and production which is done outside and mainly by white people, representatives of the formers Colonial Masters. The Cocoa Boycott of 1946-48 had ended but is still very present in this sector with Ghana having not learnt its lesson. While in the sector of Rubber production, Brazil had seen lots of very rich Barons enjoying luxioures lives to build Opera Houses in the Amazon Jungle, while cocoa farmers struggle year in and year out to make ends meet. African mind still bows down its head to the injustice done to them and instrumentalizes it in form of Cocoa Board. While the white man is enjoying the nonsense committed on African soil with Champaign parties, the black farmers are worried for the school fees to be paid and hospital bills to be settled.
“In unity we stand firm and are strong”, might be a good slogan on paper, but when wanting to be effective and powerful, must be strategized on the ground in real terms in the right manner.
The price of cocoa on the international market goes down all the time as the market power is in the hands of speculative Brokers in New York and London that have no sense for cocoa and chocolate, but only how best to make lots of money with commodities like pig halves, sugar, cocoa, soya and wheat. Speculation on finished products, golden wedding rings, sausages and bread or chocolate, is never done due to the numbers and complexity of players involved. Nothing stops Ghanaians to set up their own chocolate productions and limit the export of raw cocoa beans…only Ghanaians themselves limit themselves. Machineries can be bought, recipes can be seen on the internet and know-how of Experts can be bought at an instance.
Ghanaians do not understand the immense power they hold in their hands with the little cocoa bean but look unto Gold, Oil and Gas. While the white man has identified the power that is in this beautiful natural product and exploits it before the very eyes of the black man, the black man still does not see but tries to harm the community of chocolate lovers with homemade products available on the local market. The white man has no interest to see this industry in the hands of the black man…simple as that.
“FairTrade” chocolate, the new trend in the world of the white man, is nothing but the modern version to deprive the black man from enjoying a product he should dominate and the white man should be gladly enjoying alongside him. This industry is still Imperialism with the support of the Africans themselves.
In this vital sector not “Unity as One”, but “Diversity as One” is the way forward. While a restructured and newly mandated Cocoa Board should set a framework for the industry (negotiation with other countries to form a Cartel, supervising Research Facilities and seedling plantation besides setting working standards, environmental protection regulations, constructing “Cocoa Roads” and other related aspects), the power should be given back into the hands of the framers. They should form regional Associations managed by a voluntary team of leaders that gives out the prices for Buyers and coordinates along all involved aspects. Money paid for the beans goes directly and immediately to the farmers with no time and money lost. Different Associations will discuss ideas of prices and offer them in a set bracket to Buyers. The Government will ensure that these bracket is not undermined by any player and if so, has the power to stop the export of cocoa beans when the price falls below a set margin. The legal entity is no longer one body, the Government, but the local Associations on the ground in which every farmer as his voice and is free to join any Association in case the favourite one is no longer working in his best interest.
Profit generated on a local level can faster and more efficient benefit the farmers in the communities they operate in. Unlike Co-Operatives (history has exposed the strong inner capability of such a structure to be corrupted over time), Associations stand in competition to each other making the process more efficient and profitable for the farmers. The Tax the farmers need to pay can cover the costs for the overall initiatives and interventions mentioned above. Qualified and eager farmers will emerge out of the various Associations and take dominion over their local areas which will eventually see rich Barons in this industry and take out inefficiency in the system. As long as the playing field is accessible for all farmers and equal to them, it is a race for the Best in them and subsequently the industry at large for which reason the profit making machine Cocoa Beans and Chocolate.
Institutions never make profit nor drive an industry, it is the Individual in his heart, soul and spirit that drives an economy and makes himself rich. Nations only must set the right framework that gives the Individual the freedom to perform best.
Ghana: Do not allow yourself to be seen as foolish by the white man and taken chances of for Generations to come…wake up!
Author: Dipl.-Pol. Karl-Heinz Heerde, Sakumono, Tema West, Ghana, phone +233(0)265078287, [email protected] , 12.07.2017
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