Dear Nana Akuffo Addo, I wish you a happy chocolate day…
Dear Nana Akuffo Addo,
I would like to wish you a happy Chocolate day. As you know, this is going to be the first Chocolate day that you celebrate as the elected President of Ghana. You already know how precious our Kingsbite chocolate is to us. We are asking for chocolate this year because we cannot afford it on an average day. Since Chocolate day comes with no specific increase in government and private sector salaries, we are banking our hopes on you. Give us chocolate at a price we can afford.
Ghana’s cocoa has gone all around the world. We are praised for the richness of the cocoa we grow on our soil. Our cocoa travels to foreign companies abroad to be made into chocolate. Once sweetened and pampered out of its initial bitterness, it is subsequently perfumed with international standards and it makes its way back into our Ghanaian shops to be resold again to us, at a price we cannot afford regularly. The irony of this situation is that cocoa products tend to be more expensive to the average Ghanaian in his own country than they are to the average Joe in North America or Europe.
So who benefits the most when we celebrate Chocolate day? It is surely not the farmer who sold a bag of cocoa beans for a few hundred cedis. Or could it be the trader who makes pesewa commissions on selling the kingsbite chocolate bars individually? How about the young men and women who are already hawking in the streets of every big and small town in Ghana? How about CocoBod? The real beneficiary is behind the seas, making sure the cocoa that he buys from us is affordable to the average citizen of his country. The sweat of the Ghanaian farmers’ makes some companies richer and their executive boards more comfortable that the farmers who labored to grow this cocoa.
In a celebration as mundane as Chocolate day, the effects of the terrible decisions of the recent past directors in the area of internationalizing Ghana’s Cocoa is obvious for all to see. To add to their absolute lack of vision, they have attached a nationalist and patriotic agenda to mask their bad decisions. Economically speaking, Chocolate day is simply a day when Ghanaians buy more chocolate to make foreign companies richer. This insult to the talent and skill of the Ghanaian people to make their own brand of chocolate has gone on long enough.
Nana, as you enjoy the complimentary package of Ghanaian chocolate that will be delivered to you as President, I would like you to remember this: there are many children in many rural communities in Ghana who have never tasted chocolate because their families cannot afford to buy the smallest kingsbite bar. But can I say there is an American or European child who has never tasted chocolate? That is a near impossibility. When we deprive even our own of affordable chocolate, how can we raise patriotic Ghanaians if the resources in their own home are not available to even them? We complain of unpatriotism among the Ghanaian public. When in our recent national history has our country shown any loyalty to seeing her citizens enjoy her resources? Don’t they say charity begins at home? How then has Ghana given us an example of patriotism when we talk about cocoa? Can we even call Ghana, a motherland when it’s most famous export has been denied us at an affordable price? Which mother makes good things inaccessible for her child, but distributes her resources cheaply abroad? Ghana, as a mother in this chocolate day litmus test has failed.
Nana, this is the first chocolate day that you will be celebrating as Ghana’s president. First, how about undertaking a diligent search for sweet makers in all parts of Ghana? And then training them to hone their skills, and making chocolate our style. And whilst you are at, why not look again at the trade agreements that Ghana’s cocoa companies have with these foreign countries? Throw out the ones that are draining our capital, and bring chocolate making home to Ghana.
I am for Ghana’s chocolate. Nana, make us all proud, starting this chocolate day. Bring our chocolate home to us.
A concerned chocolate citizen.