You might have heard by now that Cadburys - probably the biggest purchaser and 'publicist' of Ghana and its Cocoa has been bought by American Company Kraft. As usual the Ghanaian government is still probably sleeping and has not thought about the implications this will have on one of Ghana's main foreign exchange earners( 6 percent of GDP and 30 percent of export revenue) and the relationship cocoa farmers have with the English ...errrr I mean American Company.
Cadburys as of 2009 had been trading with Ghana's cocoa farms for a 100 years (since 1908), as the main ingredient of their famous dairy milk is full of the goodness from Ghana with at least 20 percent cocoa powder per chocolate bar. Will Kraft reduce the content of cocoa powder to 10 percent which is acceptable under American rules for making chocolate?
To celebrate the hundred years of trade cadburys set up a Cocoa Partnership for Cocoa growing communities, mostly in the Eastern, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo, have been lined up for Cadbury’s 10-year investment package designed to secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of cocoa farmers and the communities in which they live and work.
How will the sale affect this partnership and the planned 30 million pound investment which is chicken feed when compared to the 30 BILLION Kraft paid for Cadbury.
"In Ghana, there is a phrase 'Coco obatanpa', which means 'Cocoa is a good parent. It looks after you'," said James Boateng, MD of Cadbury Ghana, in a statement. - What kind of parent will Kraft be to Ghana and its farmers?
I wonder if the government of Ghana even owns a single share in Cadburys - we all know Cadburys share holders will be smiling all the way to the banks today - but after a 100 years did any of our governments see it fit to invest in one of the limbs that feed it (i seriously doubt this) and once again our destiny is in the hands of someone else.
In 2009 Ghana and Ghanaian musician Tinny became the POSTER boy of Cadburys Fair trade dairy milk UK launch - as evident in the video below:
I commend cardury for promoting Ghana on an international scale (something our current government failed to do even with OBAMA forcing the world to literally watch Ghana) from music videos to itunes to prime time UK tv to massive billboards around the UK and of course the name Ghana features on all the wrapping of their fair trade bars.
The only thing I would have liked is if a few Ghanaians were involved in the the actual production of the videos and fair trade campaign. On closer inspection of the advertising and production credits of the campaign there are no Ghanaian names not even the main act Tinny is credited on the musical production - I guess they (Ghanaians) were all hired hands - contrary to the impression the cadurys site gives - click here
Once again there has been no transfer of knowledge and the foreign currency does not stay in AFRICA.
There is even a blog dedicated to Ghana - Click Here
I am not being ungrateful but music videos and blogs are lovely things but won't it have been better to take the opportunity to pass on some knowledge onto some creatives ie advertising student etc whilst the production team was in Ghana. After a 100 years cadburys does not have a chocolate production factory in Ghana. The cocoa is still shipped in its raw (unprocessed) and cheaper sate -
I am not blaming cadburys but there is even a lesser chance that Kraft will set up a plant in Ghana - In fact according to human rights activist craig murray (click here for full article) they might even do worse:
''What Cadbury’s use in the UK is from independent Ghanaian smallholders, and is the equivalent of wines from an ancient small chateau or boutique Californian estate. They pay extra for it, and their willingness to pay extra has been a key part of keeping the Ghanaian small farmer going.
Kraft on the other hand use the mass produced estate cocoa; the equivalent of soulless and tasteless wine from multiple fields and huge stainless steel tanks. They source mostly in Brazil – the World’s most tasteless cocoa – and Ivory Coast. The bad taste in the mouth from the cocoa is both real and metaphorical. The estates in both countries make massive use of child labour.
I have no doubt that in order to rack up the return on their vast investment, Kraft will switch to the cheap and nasty cocoa they normally use. This could be the worst thing to hit the Ghanaian rural economy since blackpod disease.''
I hope for the best outcome with this situation - by the time the Ghanaian government wake up and protect the famers and the interests of the nation it will be a done deal. I guess they are too busy thinking of the Black Gold (oil) Ghana will start producing this year - wow we mismanaged Gold Cocoa and probably oil - WAKE UP AFRICA
on a lighter note whilst trawling cadburys fair trade blog
I noticed they had a picture of one of my t -shirts on a chap in the midst of two Ghanaian STARS SWAY and TINNY - who ever can tell me which t shirt he is wearing I will send you the exact same shirt: email answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace and STAY BLESSED