The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has commissioned the first phase of the refurbished Receptive Facility and Exhibition Centre of the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm at Mampong in the Eastern Region to enhance its activities.
This forms part of the Ministry’s resolve to systematically enhance tourist sites across the country to facilitate growth of indigenous businesses, in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
Funded through the Tourism Development Fund, the refurbished facility comes with a souvenir shop, photo exhibition hall, video room, manager’s office and washrooms.
Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the Tourism Minister, who commissioned the facility, said cocoa continued to play a significant role in Ghana’s economy through employment provision and foreign exchange earnings.
Hence the Ministry had always considered cocoa and related products as veritable tourism outcomes, she said.
She said the Tourism Ministry, through the GTA, collaborated with the Ghana Cocoa Board, the Cocoa Processing Company and the Produce Buying Company to institutionalise the National Chocolate Day on February 14, Valentine’s Day, to promote the consumption of cocoa and cocoa based products.
Mrs Oteng Gyasi said the Tetteh Quarshie Farm was, therefore, expected to prominently feature in the renewed projection of cocoa as a national asset and the broader dissemination of information about the crop and its contribution to the nation.
“The refurbished receptive facility has an audio-visual room for showing orientation videos on various aspects of cocoa. It also has exhibition spaces where different thematic presentations can be mounted to enhance the interpretation of the cocoa story,” she said.
The Minister said the Farm was not only an honour to Tetteh Quarshie but also served as a centre to highlight cocoa’s strategic position in Ghana’s economy.
She said currently a number tourist sites and facilities across the country were being upgraded including those in Gwollu, Gushegu, Kintampo, Bonwire, Axim, Beyin, Bunso, Anomabu, Jamestown and TafiAtome.
Mr Akwasi Agyeman, the Chief Executive Officer, GTA, said the passage of the Tourism (Tourist Sites) Regulations 2019, LI 2393, had reinforced the Authority’s desire to upgrade the various sites to offer lifetime experience to visitors.
As part of efforts to boost tourism in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Authority had been restructured in the “new normal” with a focus on improving products and embarking on aggressive marketing.
Mr Barima Awuah Sarpong Asiedu-Larbi, the Akuapem North Municipal Chief Executive, called for continuous support to develop its array of tourist sites.
These are the Akonedi Shrine, the six branches palm nut tree, Samuel Otu Memorial Chapel, and the Amenapa and Obosomase Waterfalls, among others.
The Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm is located in Mampong in the Akwapim North District of the Eastern Region, 34.8km from Accra.
Situated on 0.38 hectares of land, the Farm contains plants of original cocoa seed brought to Ghana by Tetteh Quarshie from Fernando Po, off the coast of the Equatorial Guinea in 1987.
Meanwhile, Mr Jonathan Hammond, a family member of Tetteh Quarshie, has urged government to embark on rigorous cocoa planting exercises to enable the country to reclaim the top spot as the leading producer of cocoa on the continent.
Ghana currently ranks the second largest producer of the commodity in Africa, after La Cote D’Ivoire.