The crisis that has hit our cocoa industry took a new twist last week Tuesday, when 45 articulated trucks, fully-loaded with cocoa meant for West Africa Mill Company Limited (WAMCO), were rejected by the company on the grounds of poor quality. Information available to The Chronicle indicates that WAMCO, which is a cocoa processing company based in Takoradi, which is owned by a German company, put in a request to Cocobod to supply it with the afore-mentioned cocoa for processing and subsequent export of the end product.
Based on this request, Cocobod ordered the release of the cocoa from its warehouses at Kaase in Kumasi to the company in Takoradi.
Chronicle gathered that when the consignment arrived, WAMCO tasked its quality experts to examine it. But it was discovered after the examination that the cocoa was of inferior quality and it (WAMCO) subsequently rejected them.
Chronicle further gathered that when all the 45 trucks drove to the Takoradi port to discharge the cargo for export after rejection by the WAMCO, the quality control unit there also rejected them on the same grounds.
When WAMCO was contacted, an official management source confirmed that that the company indeed rejected some cocoa supplied to them recently but vehemently denied that the supply was rejected because of poor quality.
The source explained that management requested for grade one of the cocoa but what was brought to it was rather grade two, so WAMCO officials politely told Cocobod that since they were going to pay for the price of grade one, they could not take the grade two cocoa that was delivered.
The management source further explained that they have old stock of some of their products so they wanted the grade one to blend with it; if they had accepted what was brought to them, they would have incurred some losses after processing them.
According to the source, the unfortunate incident could have been avoided if the cocoa was brought to them directly from a warehouse in Takoradi. “In that case, we would have gone there first to examine it before ordering,” the source said.
Some articulated truck drivers who spoke to the chronicle wondered what was going on in the cocoa industry, since the rejected cocoa were certified to be good products by the quality control division of the Cocobod before they were transported from the rural areas to the ports or government warehouses in Kumasi. “If this is the case, then there is somebody out there who is not doing his work. So investigation must be conducted into the whole affair,” one of the drivers told this reporter.
Meanwhile players in the cocoa industry have appealed to government to get involved in solving the problem that has engulfed the sector, since it is one of the few strategic assets that are left to Ghana and its collapse could ruin the fortunes of this country.
They noted that even if some toes would be stepped upon at Cocobod, the decision has to be taken as early as possible to save the industry.