Only Chocolate Day? All right.
Mr Speaker, I am very happy that today, Ghanaians have come to settle with the fact that what used to be called Valentine Day is now known as Chocolate Day in Ghana and I was very happy when you aliased it and said alias Valentine's Day.
The reason is that, for several years in this country, cocoa has been an alien commodity. The products of cocoa have been alien commodities. Chocolate, which is eaten worldwide, which is loved by most people in this world, is rather seen in this country as secondary product and people scarcely eat it and when they do, it is a luxury.
Mr Speaker, with our committed and determined approach to make sure chocolate is eaten, and that we set aside an important day like this as a National Chocolate Day, it is something we need to celebrate and urge Ghanaians to do so. The importance of it is that the production of chocolate will increase in Ghana, the transformation of cocoa beans to edible chocolate will increase in Ghana, the job creation that would accompany it would expand and the economy would be better off.
So, it is not something we need to joke about. It is something we need to work with and ensure that it stays in the country and ensure that it takes root and become part and parcel of us. We must change our culture, the culture of adoring cocoa, the products of cocoa and ensure that Ghanaians themselves find use of what we produce in the world.
Seventy per cent of the total production of cocoa is from West Africa and Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa. If today the world decides that they are going to use synthetic cocoa, and that they are not going to use our cocoa anymore, what would we do? What would be the purpose of the many investments that we have done on cocoa?
So, it is good that we can consume and enjoy what we produce. It is good that the young people of today would see today as a very important day to celebrate cocoa. I am happy also to note that the Hon Minister is going to cut the sod for the construction of a museum to honour the memory of Tetteh Quarshie, the man who brought cocoa to Ghana, whose name has been extolled worldwide for what he has done. That single individual who has changed the course of history and the economic nature of our country.
Mr Speaker, I believe that today and every other day in every other year which a day is set aside like today is celebrated, would be a redefinition of what we would want to do with our lives because, it is important that our economy changes. It is important that Guggisberg's economy, which allows us to just carry raw cocoa beans to Europe, begins to change and it is going to change for the good.
I will urge all the young people of this country to see this day as not just a day of licentiousness, a day of celebrating love which is defined as being a relation between man and woman, but a day when we love ourselves, when we can produce and eat what we produce, when we can at least take a bite of Ghana and be happy that we are producing and eating what we have in this country.
Mr Speaker, with this, I thank you very much for the opportunity.
-- Akim Oda): Mr Speaker, I would want to take us back a bit on how and why the National Chocolate Day --
Mr Speaker, over 12 or so years ago, it was anticipated that the price of cocoa on the international market would come down. We have seen that today. This is because, almost about 90 per cent of the cocoa that is produced in Ghana was exported and that was a challenge to all of us. Only about 10 per cent was consumed.
The former President Kufuor made frantic efforts to increase cocoa processing in Ghana and he made a target that by the end of his term, Ghana would have been processing about 25 per cent of its cocoa in Ghana. Yes, he was able to achieve that and because of that, we had factories springing up in Kumasi and the free zones area and all manner of primary processors.
So, as we speak, Mr Speaker, Ghana still processes less than 32 per cent of its total production and it is still not enough. About six years ago, the previous Government, through the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, decided that they would make the Valentine Day, Chocolate Day in order to draw the attention of Ghanaians to the fact that they need to consume cocoa.
But unfortunately, what was proud about that policy was that, the foremost company in Ghana that processes cocoa, CPC, was never given cocoa to process. They were processing less than two per cent of the total production in Ghana because, they owed COCOBOD, and for that matter, the Government of Ghana a lot of money.
At the point, the whole processing plant was more or less rented to a French company. The French company would buy and acquire its cocoa and then come and
process here in Ghana and just pay a pittance, rent fee to CPC. As a result, many of the workers of CPC were laid off and CPC is still in limbo.
It is now that COCOBOD is trying to give CPC a certain percentage of production that we do here to process. Even that, are we able to consume the total cocoa that we process here in Ghana?
Yes, the President is doing something about it. The President travelled to la Côté d'Ivoire recently and the President of la Côté d'Ivoire also came to Ghana. A meeting was held at Golden Tulip Hotel between the two countries on how to see the way forward in making sure that much of the cocoa that we produce in Ghana and Côté d'Ivoire are processed within our countries.
Therefore as I speak, within the menu of Ministry of Education for the Free SHS programme, now they have established at least, within the week, two cocoa menus on their seven day programme. This would go a long way to ensure that the cocoa that we produce here is also processed and consumed in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, I am also happy that we want to construct this museum to tell a story to the outside world about how cocoa came to Ghana and how it is of course processed. I would urge the Hon Minister to liaise strongly with the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).
They have a product well established already and this tourism product was established under the able leadership of one Dr Appiah, who was known as the cocoa man, and my good self, when I was the Business Development Manager of
Mr Speaker, we have a video of how cocoa is processed form nursery to well catalogued form. So, if we want to do this museum, I believe that we should liaise with the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, which is already making a lot of money from the product that we want to establish, and I guess our work would be very easy.
Mr Speaker, within this Chamber, myself, and there is another man sitting there, he took over from me at Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana. Hon Alex Adomako-Mensah is seated right in front of you. He took over from me as the Commercial Manager of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana. I am sure he also met that product -- a well-developed tourism product. They should just go there, pick it and bring it to this museum we are constructing.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.