Quality control in cocoa production in Ghana - a case study in the Western South Region

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The quality of Ghana cocoa at the international market is very high and so earns a premium, even though Ghana is not the current leading producer of the commodity. In order to improve and maintain the quality of the cocoa production in Ghana, the Quality Control Divsion (QCD) of Ghana Cocoa Board has been charged with that responsibility. The major problems facing the QCD officials are that some of the cocoa presented for grading and sealing are found to be not thoroughly dried (NTD) and also not uniform in sizes (Admixture). Cocoa in Ghana is sold by weight and continuous drying by farmers and Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) would reduce their income and the labour cost of sieving the cocoa beans to ensure uniform sizes is high. The study emphasizes the required quality of the processed cocoa beans by making sure that they are thoroughly dried, reasonably uniform in size, tree from evidence of adulteration and free from all defects. A survey with the aid of questionnaires and interviews was made at the Western South Region in Ghana to obtain information from the various stakeholders in the cocoa industry, namely: farmers. LBCs, QCD and transporters. The questionnaires were designed in such a way that the questions were different for each stakeholder since they perform different roles in the cocoa industry. It was found out from the survey that the internal marketing of cocoa allows for competition so the LBCs are forced to buy NTD cocoa from the farmers. The District Officers of the LBCs rush on the PCs for them to deliver purchased cocoa on time so they do not have time to prepare the cocoa very well by way of drying and sieving. The rush on the PC’s has advantage in the cocoa industry, as cocoa beans are not stored for a long period at the society sheds and depots and SO minimize the incidence of insect infestation and the development of other defects like moulds. It also came out of the study that 96.9% of the total rejections by QCD are caused by NTD and Admixture and SO minimizing the incidence of NTD and Admixture will reduce the total rejections. It also came out of the study that rejection of cocoa based on NTD is higher than rejection based on Admixture. It was recommended that farmers should observe the farm management practices well by making sure that, farms are weeded, sprayed and cocoa beans are also well fermented. The LBCs should recondition all the inferior cocoa beans they purchase before applying for grading and sealing. The QCD should work diligently without favouritism and should not aid any LBC by certifying inferior cocoa as good one. [he transporters should also take instructions from the QCD officials instead of the LBCs as being done currently because it is the QCD, which has the necessary tools to ensure the quality of the cocoa beans.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Economics and Industrial Management in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master s degree in Business Administration (MBA), 2004