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05.09.2003 General News

Ghana to host International Cocoa Conference

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Tafo (E/R) Sept. 5, GNA - Ghana would host this year's International Cocoa Research Conference in Accra in October. The conference would seek solutions to the challenges that have beset the cocoa industry in recent times.

The conference, slated for October 13 to October 18, would bring together more from 500 scientists from all over the world.

This came to light on Friday when Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, visited the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) at Tafo in the East Akyem District as part of a three-day tour of the Eastern Region.

The Reverend Dr Drorew Olennu, Acting Executive Director of the CRIG, said the conference would address issues such as, processing, marketing and other commercial related issues of the cocoa industry. He said the hosting of the conference rotates every two to four years adding "the first and last time Ghana held it was 32 years ago".

Giving a brief history of the institute, Rev Dr Olennu said at present the CRIG's mandate has been extended to carry out research activities into products such as Coffee, Cola and Cashew.

He noted that currently the institute has three large plantations in the country that support their research works.

Rev. Dr Olennu said Ghana's firs export of cocoa dated as far back as 1885 adding that in 1891, the country exported two bags of cocoa to Germany.

This volume increased to 20,000 tonnes in 1908 and in 1961 Ghana became the leading producer of cocoa in the world.

Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah, Head of Plant Breeding Division of the CRIG, said in terms of quality, Ghana's type of cocoa still ranked number one on the world and added that, the institute had come out with hybrids with high quality.

The Minister is on tour to acquaint himself with the tourist potentials in the Region and also to solicit the effective collaboration of the chiefs and local people for the development and promotion of those attractions for the benefit of their respective communities.

The Minister praised the institute for their role and achievements so far and said there was the need for the institute to look at ways to engage in partnership in order to expand their activities.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said a tourist company in Japan has expressed interest to assist Ghana develop her tourist attractions saying, "our chocolate is a potential tourist product which must be developed to derive the maximum benefit."

He asked the Institute to research into the cocoa industry in the country, saying: "We need to know how the first cocoa seed was planted or started in Ghana, which today has spread nation-wide making the country the second largest producer in the world".

This was in apparent reference to the decision to develop the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm at Mampong Akwapim into a tourist site. Tetteh Quarshie is on record to have brought the first cocoa seeds into the country from Fernando Po and cultivated it at Mampong Akwapim.

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