A cross section of the Ghanaians on social media have expressed strong disapproval over the venue selected by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to mark the National Chocolate Week celebration in Accra.
Commentators on the incident on Thursday, February 4, 2021 seem to question the rationale of the organisers, COCOBOD, to launch such an important event in the city and not at the villages that grow cocoa to feed the country and the rest of the world.
Critics say it would have been better for the organisers to select at least one cocoa growing area for the launch.
The launch event was held at the Marriott Hotel at Airport City on Thursday and a photo accompanying the event drew most of the backlash.
The photo was shared by the Corporate Affairs Manager at COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo, and captures him with Information Minister-designate Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah at a make-believe cocoa farm at the hotel.
In the photo, Mr Oppog-Nkrumah who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ofoaso Ayiribi in the Eastern Region dressed in an African print shirt, is seen being welcomed by Mr Boafo into the event venue in a colourful moment.
Mr Boafo had captioned the photo, “Myself and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah today entering the venue for the launch of National Chocolate week at Marriott Hotel in Accra. The background is part of what you should expect when you visit the chocolate city which will be established at the Tetteh Quashie interchange.
It’s time to #EatChocolateStayHealthyGrowGhana#”.
The path leading to the venue of the launch of the Chocolate Day had been decorated with cocoa leafs and plants to create the false-sense of a cocoa farm.
However, Ghanaians on social media have taken a strong exception to that, saying it was inappropriate to have such a programme in Accra where no cocoa trees grow.
A good number of Mr. Boafo’s followers who commented under the photo did not take it lightly, although a few others applauded COCOBOD for a great initiative.
A comment from one Nana Kofi reads as follows: “It’s a bad idea to establish a chocolate city in Accra where a single cocoa tree isn’t planted there. The western North regional capital is there so why can’t you guys establish that there. Goaso and Sefwo Wioso are major growing cocoa cities in Ghana. Kumasi too is there. Why do you want to establish every cocoa thing in Accra? NPP be careful in your second term ooo”.
Another one by the name Mansa Musa Dsg reads: “Why should the chocolate day be in Accra which has not a single tree of cocoa And again wetin concern mariot hotel and cocoa hmmmmm Ghana ha ase.
Yet another comment by HE Osei Kwadwo-Adusei reads: “Great but why not situate the chocolate city in a region where cocoa is mostly grown? Accra is tired of all these infrastructures, besides, cocoa is not grown anywhere in Accra”.
Citizen Dampare Anointing was worried about the inability of the COCOBOD to pay farmers. He said: “Pay the farmers and stop being heartless if your father is to be part would you have treated them this way, wicked sour enjoying over the sweat is vulnerable, God will punish to you to the 10th generation.”
That last harsh comment comes after reports that cocoa farmers have not been paid by Licensed Buying Companies (LBC) for their cocoa purchased in the last two months even though they are in the third month of the main cocoa season.
National Chocolate Day, which falls on February 14 every year, was instituted by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in collaboration with Ghana Tourism Authority and Cocoa Processing Company, Ghana Cocoa Board and other stakeholders in 2005, to create awareness on the need for Ghanaians to patronise cocoa products and to help generate more revenue for national development.