The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has rallied Chinese to patronise Ghana’s cocoa and cocoa products.
While acknowledging the presence of chocolate in China, he described the Ghana’s chocolate as authentic and the best of chocolate in the world.
Speaking at a dialogue of some ministers of agriculture at the ongoing Third China International Tea Expo 2019 at Hangzhou in the Zhejiang Province in China, Dr Akoto said tea was a popular beverage in Ghana even though it was not grown in the country.
“What we are known for is cocoa. We have grown cocoa for 130 years and we have a long tradition for cocoa,” he told the packed hall of exhibitors and attendees of the expo.
The dialogue was part of the programme of activities marking this year’s tea expo which brought together over 300 exhibitors of tea and tea products and accessories.
Ghana is participating in the expo with cocoa and a range of cocoa products as well as shea butter and coffee.
Dr Akoto attended the three-day expo as head of government delegation, which includes the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, the
Ghana’s Ambassador to China, Mr Edward Akwasi Boateng, the Chairman of the Board of the Procurement Authority, Professor Douglas Boateng, the Managing Director of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Nana Agyenim Boateng, and representatives from the private sector.
Dr Akoto told the people that formerly Ghana used to export the cocoa beans in their raw state, “but now we have a government that has come with a new concept that we have to add value before export.
“So we are producing chocolate in Ghana, the best chocolate you can find because of the quality of the beans we have,” he told the excited Chinese community who were eager to taste the Ghanaian chocolate.
He invited the Chinese community and visitors to the fair to visit the Ghanaian stand to taste the Ghanaian chocolate and cocoa drinks.
While he was addressing the people, the CPC was distributing bars of chocolate to all the people in the hall, which almost disturbed the dialogue as everybody wanted to grab one.
Welcoming the exhibitors and ministers of agriculture from participating countries, the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Qu Dongyu, said “irrespective of our origin, language and nationality, we are brothers and sisters.”
He said love transcended every obstacle, adding that where there was true love, language did not matter, “eye contacts matter most.”
Mr Qu said tea brought people together and that was why it was important that as all converged to celebrate tea, they needed to see one another as neighbours.
Importance of tea
He said tea was, particularly, important because it promoted rural development and the wellbeing of the small-scale farmer in the rural area.
Mr Qu said promoting tea and coffee would lead to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals One and Two, saying, “we need the tea, we need the coffee.”