In 2005, the Ghana Tourism Authority instituted “National Chocolate Day” to coincide with Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated on 14th February annually. Typically, on Valentine’s Day people show their affection for another person or people by sending cards, flowers, or chocolates with messages of love.
Chocolate Day was instituted with the aim of boosting the domestic consumption of Ghanaian chocolate and other cocoa-based products, to promote domestic tourism and to give a healthy orientation to the celebration of Valentine’s Day in Ghana particularly as Ghana is the second largest cocoa exporter in the world after La Cote D’Ivoire.
Chocolate day is mostly celebrated in the urban centres whilst the cocoa farmers who toil to produce the cocoa beans used in the manufacture chocolates are left out of the celebrations. In view of this, the Executive Members of the Alumni Association of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) embarked on a trip to Kwahu Bepong in the Eastern Region of Ghana to celebrate the Chocolate Day with some cocoa farmers of the town. The event took place at the palace of the Kwahu Bepong Chief, and on a couple of farms of the cocoa farmers on the 14th February 2021.
Nana Nyarko II, the Chief of Kwahu Bepong and Kwahu Dwantoahene of Kwahu traditional area, welcomed the Alumni Executives to his palace and thanked them for taking time to celebrate this year’s Chocolate Day with them.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Kwaku Ofosu-Asare, President of UGBS Alumni Association remarked that Bepong was renowned for its cocoa production in Ghana hence their visit to the town. He stressed the importance of cocoa to the economy of Ghana and congratulated the farmers for their contributions to Ghana’s worth on the global cocoa market. He stated that without cocoa, Ghana loses its export value and worth. In his address he remarked; “It is rather unfortunate that during Chocolate Day celebrations, farmers who work hard to produce cocoa, which is later exported to make chocolate, are mostly forgotten”.
Some of the cocoa farmers on their part outlined the challenges associated with their work and shared their experiences with the Association Executives. Several of them revealed that they had neither tasted nor seen chocolate prior to the day.
Mr. Johnson Sumoah, the Chief Farmer of Bepong, mentioned that the youth of the town have no interest in cocoa farming, especially since there is little money in the business. He suggested that the Executive Members of the Alumni Association encourage their youth to take part in the cocoa business to boost production in the town.
Another cocoa farmer, Mrs. Emma Bosompeng, suggested to the members of the Association to speak to the government on their behalf to support the uneducated cocoa farmers financially concerning their pensions. The cocoa farmers pleaded through the Association Executives for government to provide them with pesticides. The discussions ended with distribution of chocolate bars to the cocoa farmers present at the gathering.
The team then moved to the village to celebrate the Chocolate Day with the farmers and their children on their cocoa farms. There were smiles and laughter on the faces of cocoa farmers as they enjoyed rich Ghanaian chocolate, (the fruits of their labour) with their children.
The event ended with a caution message from the Executive Members of the Alumni Association to the cocoa farmers to ensure that they adhere to the COVID-19 protocols so as to keep themselves and their community safe.
copyright © 2016 University of Ghana Business School. All Rights Reserved