The Cocoa of Excellence (CoEx) programme, is a biennial event which offers cocoa farmers the entry point to participate in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA), the only competition of its kind recognizing the work of cocoa farmers and celebrating the diversity of cocoa flavours globally.
The aim of the awards, is to recognise quality, flavour and diversity of cocoas according to their origin.
The ICA programme is spearheaded by Bioversity International, an international research organisation set to deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security, and Event International the organisers of Salon Du Chocolat, a yearly trade fair for the international chocolate industry
The 2015 cocoa of excellence award competition, received 146 samples of cocoa beans from 35 participating cocoa-producing countries. Out of the 146 samples, the best 50 samples were selected and carefully processed into liquor and un-tempered chocolate and then sent for blind sensory evaluation by a panel of 26 international sensory evaluation experts. The panel of judges then select the best 17 of the final samples to receive the international cocoa award.
Present at the ceremony in Paris to collect the awards were, Osabarima Adusei Peasah IV, Chief of Akyem Tafo, and a cocoa farmer, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, and Madam Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, Ghana’s Ambassador to France.
Speaking to the press after the awards ceremony, Ed Seguine, chair of the jury of cocoa of excellence programme and the ICA, congratulated the 2 Ghanaian cocoa farmers for producing high-quality cocoa beans whose unique flavour got them to be shortlisted for the award. He added that Ghana is known around the world for its quality and premium beans. Ed Seguine is also President of Seguine Cacao Cocoa & Chocolate Advisors in USA and chairman of Ad hoc panel on fine flavor cocoa of the International Cocoa Organisation.
In his acknowledgment speech on behalf of Abubakari Alidu and himself, Osabarima Adusei Peasah IV thanked COCOBOD and CRIG for supporting them to adhere to good agronomic and post-harvest practices, which won them an international award. He promised to encourage his fellow cocoa farmers to take their farming serious and desist from allowing their farms to be used for illegal mining, to ensure Ghana continues to maintain its position as the world’s number one producer of premium quality cocoa beans.
Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, CE of COCOBOD, pledged the commitment of the Board to ensure cocoa farmers are well looked after to encourage them to stay in the Ghana cocoa industry. The CE of COCOBOD, said the Board would not relent in its effort to increase production of premium quality cocoa beans in Ghana.
Touching on Ghana’s huge tourism potential, the Ghana Ambassador to France, Madam Johanna Svanikier, used the occasion to invite all who loved Ghana’s cocoa to visit Ghana and experience at first hand Ghana’s cocoa story, as well as sample unique taste of Ghana made chocolates. Ambassador Svanikier said Ghana is peaceful and hospitable with a tourism sector that abounds with unique attractions.
COCOBOD put up an exhibition stand at the 5-day Chocolate Fair (Salon Du Chocolat). The exhibition attracted 700 participants made up of exhibitors, chefs, pastry chefs, chocolatiers, experts, authors and artists from over 40 countries. The theme for the exhibition was, Cocoa Expressions, Chocolate Innovations