Lamentations of a Cocoa lover – Part 1

Lamentations of a Cocoa lover – Part 1

Farming have become a preserve of the elderly

Why do we still go globe-trot­ting calabash in hand, a large entourage in tow and officials back home waiting to pounce on the “booty” that will be squeezed into our calabash like the last drop from an Ideal Milk tin?

We sit on so much wealth but like Diabetes, we are hungry (poor) in the midst of plenty.

I do not have answers to our challenges as a country with my limited information because from where I stand it appears inter­national economic woes alone cannot explain our challenges but we have many smart people in leadership positions so some­thing must be missing.

Finished products from  Cocoa  need to be promoted nationwide
Finished products from Cocoa need to be promoted nationwide

I am no history scholar (my only claim to that is being a friend to one of the great Prof Al­bert Adu Boahen’s children. May Chris’ soul rest in perfect peace), I do not think there has ever been a better time in the history of our dear country; stable democracy, peace, loads of knowledge, peo­ple willing to make a difference, access to a global market and many more.

Yes, the challenges are hu­mongous, but we are not alone, and the story has always been the same.

For as long as I can remember, we have always been one of the top two producers of Cocoa in the world, yet we hardly have a say in the money we should get from the toils of Tetteh Quarshie.

The cocoa farmer seems to be a “neglected” species. Together with our neighbour to our West, we produce over 60% of the world’s cocoa yet as the price of cocoa products like chocolate continue to rise, the price of our unrefined cocoa beans contin­ues to dance “agbadza” with peaks and troughs; who pulls the strings? My limited economics fails me here.

Fear of the unknown may par­alyse us but the obvious should urge us on. The pattern of cocoa growth around the country is changing and climate change is certainly playing a role. Can Co­coa really go extinct (I first heard this on Citi FM) if global warming continues unabated?

Are we losing cocoa only to changing climate, galamsey, disease and aging trees or other issues such as lack of respect for those who till the land including cocoa farmers?

Have we made farming so unattractive that it is now the pre­serve of the elderly? What hap­pens when that generation moves on to glory? The young ones are moving to the cities to be close to where most of the money from cocoa is spent.

These days I see some beauty products from cocoa, shea butter etc. produced locally. These are amazing world-class products. Why did it take us so long to do so little? These finished products need to be promoted nationwide, then to our neighbours and then around the world. We should use as much as possible here for its health and beauty benefits while creating wealth.

I still think about the Nation­al Cathedral, but I will keep my thoughts to myself. We need a COCOA VILLAGE by ALL MEANS. This will be a major tourist attrac­tion for both internal and external clients.

CAN YOU JUST IMAGINE, a world top two cocoa producer has a place where you can go to experience the exciting cocoa story of perseverance, hope and maybe patriotism? A place where you can see a miniature cocoa farm and how it is tendered daily and different stages including harvesting and drying.

Areas that show physically or in pictures processing of choco­late, cocoa bread, cake, pastries, drinks, soap, shampoo, body creams and an endless list. We can throw in a few games/activ­ities and couch them as Tetteh Quarshie’s favourite. Why has this not materialized? Tourism please!!!

At least one day each week should be COCOA DAY; everyone or at least all state offices, func­tions etc. should serve only cocoa products. We will reap not only from the health benefits but also a product that becomes more attractive world-wide and guess what will follow.

Can we have properly orga­nized “cocoa festivals” at least once a year? It should be fairly easy to set the ball rolling by organizing a mini cocoa festival at least once a month in one COCOBOD facility nationwide; lets showcase cocoa products and add some “flavour” to make it attractive.

ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, EN­SURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)

Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel

Health Essentials Ltd (HE&W Group)

(dressel@healthessentialsgh. com)

*Dr. Essel is a medical doctor with a keen interest in Lifestyle Medicine, He holds an MBA and is an ISSA Specialist in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise. He is the au­thor of the award-winning book, ‘Unravelling The Essentials of Health & Wealth.’

Thought for the week – “imagine your food as part of your body and let that inform your choices. Do you want to be built of and powered by junk food?”

Reference:

1. Information from National Committee for The Promotion of Cocoa Consumption

2. “Way Maker”

3. “He Made a Way”

4. www.webmd.com

5. www.mayoclinic.com

6. Professor Addai

By Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel

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