ACCRA, Ghana – An official ceremony hosted by the Ghana Cocoa Board honored Simon Marfo, a Ghanaian cocoa farmer who won the prestigious Cocoa of Excellence International Cocoa Award at the recent Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France.
Marfo is a member of the Cocoa Abrabopa Association (CAA) and benefited from fine flavor training supported by the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF)’s African Cocoa Initiative. Marfo competed against 166 other entries from 40 countries.
A jury of international fine flavor experts chose only 18 cocoa samples, among them Marfo’s, for the award. His sample was the only winner from Ghana and was also recognized as one of the four best cocoa samples from the Africa and the Indian Ocean region.
Two other farmers from Ghana, John Kofi Assiamah and Noah Obeng, also received their certificate of recognition from the Cocoa of Excellence program during the presentation ceremony.
Today’s ceremony was presided by Ghana Cocoa Board CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo, who announced a cash prize of five thousand Ghana cedis for each of the three farmers to thank them for showcasing the quality of the country’s cocoa.
Accepting the prize on behalf of the farmers, Assiamah expressed appreciation to Ghana Cocoa Board for the honour and thanked all partners whose support made the awards possible.
Commenting on the award, CAA Executive Secretary Eliseus Opoku-Boamah said, “We congratulate Mr. Marfo on this achievement and wish him all the best in improving and maintaining the traditional flavour attributes of Ghana cocoa. With his strong combination of knowledge, professional mind-set, and dedication, we will not be surprised to see him win more awards”.
“The World Cocoa Foundation understands that preserving cocoa flavour quality in Ghana and across West Africa drives value and supports incomes for thousands of cocoa farmers, their families and communities,” said WCF Ghana Country Director Vincent Manu.
“WCF continues its flavour quality work and is expanding training for farmers, including in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire.”
Marfo received training at a flavor laboratory established at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and at CAA’s head office.
These laboratories conduct sensory analysis of cocoa samples, prepare cocoa liquor and chocolates, and train farmers on appropriate post-harvest techniques to maintain and improve the flavor of cocoa.
The training is conducted by CAA technical trainers and CRIG extension agents and based on a feedback loop, whereby farmers taste chocolate made from their own beans. Innovative flavor-enhancing practices promoted through the training include breaking of cocoa pods by the third day after harvesting; removal of bean placenta; fermentation heap regular turning; removal of nearby odors; and usage of palm fronds for beans drying instead of polythene.
Cocoa Abrabopa Association is a leading cocoa farmers’ association with members in all the cocoa regions in Ghana. The association was established in 2008 and it is made up of more than 9,000 dedicated cocoa farmers who aim to improve their yields, income and livelihoods by adopting sustainable methods of cocoa production. The association continually invests in building the capacity of its members with the objective of improving their livelihoods. Recently, Cocoa Abrabopa Association has initiated a pensions scheme program geared towards providing sustainable livelihoods after long years of service. The Cocoa Abrabopa Association has two partners, which complete the cocoa supply chain, Kumankoma Company Ltd which is the Licensed Buying Company in Ghana and ASCOT Amsterdam which is the dedicated sales office in the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.cocoaforabetterlife.com or www.cocoabrabopa.org.
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is a non-profit international membership organization that promotes sustainability in the cocoa sector. Our vision is a sustainable and thriving cocoa sector – where farmers prosper, cocoa-growing communities are empowered, human rights are respected, and the environment is conserved. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
WCF’s African Cocoa Initiative is a public-private partnership bringing together WCF, chocolate and cocoa industry members and the U.S. Agency for International Development through its Global Development Alliance, with the governments of Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. WCF member companies supporting ACI at the time of the flavor lab’s inception were ADM Cocoa; Barry Callebaut; Blommer Chocolate Company; Cargill; Continaf BV; Ferrero; Guittard Chocolate Company; The Hershey Company; Lindt & Sprüngli; Mars, Incorporated; Mondelēz International; Nestlé; Noble Resources; and Olam International Ltd. TCHO served as a technical partner to WCF for the flavor lab portion of ACI. Tree Global Inc., more recently joined the project.