Ofi

OFI CONFERENCE FOR COCOA MANAGERS

Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) Ghana Limited, a leading Licensed Buying Company (LBC) in Ghana recently concluded a five-day Managers’ Conference at the Anagkazo Campus in Akuapem Mampong.

The theme of the conference was: “To be the Change for Good Food and a Healthy Future.” which makes a good strap-line but didn’t appear to be followed by much new practical advice. We haven’t seen the details of the programme, but the announcements made following the event had nothing that we haven’t heard repeated many times before.

The conference attendees included over 400 managers from OFI’s operational areas, alongside some key industry players. The goal of the conference was to evaluate how OFI can optimise its operations to increase value for its stakeholders, with discussions surrounding the current trends, developments and challenges in the Cocoa sector.

Among the attendees was Mr Boahen Aidoo, COCOBOD Chief Executive. Aidoo stressed the importance of Cocoa for the country’s prosperity, stating the need to ensure that the production of the commodity remains sustainable. But perhaps some would have preferred more concrete commitments by the Government to tackle the underlying issues, including land tenure, ageing trees, and improved infrastructure.

COCOBOD is currently focused on Cocoa processing and the processing of artisanal chocolate, Mr Aidoo explained, as this will generate more revenue from the Cocoa the country already produces.

The private sector might fare better. However, it’s hard to see how growing the domestic artisanal market will move the needle for the country’s overall revenues.

However, the organisation’s venture into making chocolate via a close relationship with Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) and the Golden Tree Ghana product has been an expensive experiment so far, with CPC continuously reporting heavy losses and relying on COCOBOD to defer or waive debt repayments.

The private sector might fare better. However, it’s hard to see how growing the domestic artisanal market will move the needle for the country’s overall revenues.

He further urged OFI management to expand its Olam Cocoa Processing Facility at Kaase or otherwise build a new factory in Accra. The Chief Executive reiterated the government’s continued support to the Cocoa sector through the distribution of subsidised Cocoa fertiliser, rehabilitation of damaged Cocoa farms and hand-pollination of Cocoa.

In a closing statement, Mr Aidoo urged Cocoa managers to innovate their methods of teaching good agricultural practices to Cocoa farmers so that a higher quality Cocoa yield can be achieved.

With the right training, he said these same practices would help control the Cocoa swollen shoot disease we reported previously, which has had dire consequences for many farms in the Western North.

During the conference, the Country Head of OFI, Mr Eric Asare Botwe praised his team for their hard work through the many challenges in the past season. He went on to assure employees that they would continue to receive the necessary support to maintain their position as the leading Licensed Buying Company in Ghana’s Cocoa sector through the 2022/2023 season.

Photo from B&FT Online

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