About 100 cocoa depot and warehouse keepers in the Central Region participated in a day?s capacity building workshop on sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards in cocoa production, in Assin Foso in the Central Region on Thursday.
The workshop was organized by the Quality Control Company Limited (QCCL) a subsidiary of the Ghana COCOBOD, in collaboration with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Africa Cocoa Project, International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), Crop Life, United Nations Development Organization (UNIDO) and EDES-COLEACP, under the theme: ?Good Warehouse Practices in the Cocoa Industry?.
It was to educate the participants on depot management, to help mitigate the effects of pesticide and residue on cocoa.
The workshop was also to establish appropriate and correct procedures for the implementation of good warehouse standard practices.
Mr Thomas Kwame Osei, Acting Managing Director of the company, said though Ghana?s cocoa beans had met the standard of the international market it was imperative for stakeholder in the cocoa industry to help sustain the good quality through good hygiene practices.
He noted, however, that in recent times there were complaints in the international market about the quality of cocoa from Africa.
Mr Osei said this was due to the excessive use of chemicals, which contaminated cocoa.
He said QCCL sought to move away from stringent orders from the international market concerning the quality of cocoa to self- assessment and peer reviewing.
He appealed to stakeholders, especially depot keepers, to understand warehouse management to enable them to produce uncontaminated cocoa beans for the international market.
Mr Azalekor William, a Principal Research officer, who took the participants through an overview of ?SPS Africa Cocoa Project?, said the initiative was a two-year programme of which Ghana, Cote D?lviore , Nigeria, Cameroun and Togo would benefit from.
He said under the phase one of the project, farmers, depot and warehouse keepers, purchasing and marketing clerks, transport operators and staff at the various ports would be given adequate training on how to properly handle cocoa beans to avoid contamination.
Mr Francis Enyan, Acting Deputy Western Regional Manager in charge of Western South Region-Dunkwa, took the participants through good warehousing/storage practices, shed sanitation, general safety and security of warehouse, warehouse hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness, warehouse management and warehouse personnel.
Mr Noah Kwasi Ababio Prah, Deputy Central Regional Manager of QCCL, commended stakeholders in the cocoa industry in the region for helping to produce quality cocoa beans, and warned that it was an offence punishable by law to either sell or buy un-dried cocoa beans.