The Ghanaian government has partnered with Glico TCHO, a Japanese food company which produces chocolates and confectioneries, to set up the first ever Sensory Evaluation & Bean Quality Laboratory and a Quality Training Centre at Akyem Tafo in the Eastern Region.
The Laboratory and Training Centre when completed, will be the first ever flavour testing laboratory in Africa.
The project, which is to be completed in 6 months’ time will be fully funded by Glico TCHO at a cost of $170,000.
Dr. Isaac Yaw Opoku, the Executive Director of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), said the facility will enhance the quality of Ghana’s cocoa beans.
It will also enable Ghana to soon become a major producer of fine flavour cocoa beans joining Madagascar which produces and exports both fine flavour cocoa beans and the bulk or ordinary cocoa beans.
“The ultimate goal is to enhance our research into bean quality and to build the capacity of all stakeholders along the value chain, so that Ghana will continue to serve the chocolate and confectionery industry high premium quality beans,” De. Isaac noted.
Currently the price of fine flavour cocoa beans on the international market ranges between 6,000 and 10,000 per metric tons, a significant difference in the bulk or ordinary beans making the demand for fine flavour cocoa beans high.
Fine flavour cocoa currently contributes 5 percent of world cocoa production; and its aromatic exhibition of complex flavour has made its demand increase on the world market.
Deputy Executive Director of CRIG, Dr. Henry Gyahene Obiatey, says cocoa farmers who have exhibited interest in the cultivation of fine flavour beans, are receiving premiums on their produce.
He added that CRIG continues to receive requests from cocoa and chocolate manufacturing companies outside the country who are interested in fine flavour beans.
CRIG is currently piloting the cultivation of fine flavour cocoa beans in the Akyemansa and Offinso Districts of the Ashanti Region.
Although some farmers are excited about the flavour factory, they want government to establish a chocolate producing factory in the area, to get full benefit of the Cocoa Flavour Laboratory and Quality Training Centre.