Rick Scobey, WCF President, delivers speech during the National Durbar to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Ghana Cocoa Board

Rick Scobey, WCF President, delivers speech during the National Durbar to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Ghana Cocoa Board

Speech given by Richard Scobey, WCF President

Kumasi, Ghana, October 2, 2017

Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo;

Your Majesty, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene;

Honorable Minister for Food and Agriculture;

Honorable Minister of Ashanti Region;

Honorable Ministers of State;

Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corp;

Nananom;

Wonderful people of the Ashanti Kingdom;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and gentlemen;

I bring you warm felicitations from the Board of Directors of the World Cocoa Foundation as well as from the 100 cocoa and chocolate companies from across the globe who are members of our organization. 

I am extremely honored to be accorded the opportunity to participate in this historic moment.  I also feel very fortunate to witness the great Ashanti culture on display at this memorable event.  I thank the Ghana Cocoa Board for inviting us.

Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to mention that the World Cocoa Foundation represents more than 80 percent of the global cocoa market.  Our programs are designed to benefit farmers and their communities in cocoa-growing regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas.  I am pleased to see so many of our member companies here today to join us in honoring the history and accomplishments of the Ghana Cocoa Board.

The goal of the World Cocoa Foundation is to help create a sustainable and thriving cocoa sector – where farmers prosper, cocoa-growing communities are empowered, human rights are respected, and the environment is conserved.

The Ghana Cocoa Board is one of our most important partners, and we are delighted to join the celebration today to mark the significant milestone of the Board’s seventy years of service to the farmers, to the country, and to the global cocoa community.

The World Cocoa Foundation has had great friendship, cooperation and partnership with Ghana and the Ghana Cocoa Board for 17 out of those 70 years.  But for many of our member companies, they began cocoa trading with you right from the beginning, in 1947. They have crawled with you; and they have walked with you.  In good times and in challenging times, we have been friends and partners.

We realize that it is not always smooth sailing in the world cocoa economy.  As private sector, we know and respect the government of Ghana and the Ghana Cocoa Board’s desire to give the best to the farmer.  We are equally interested in placing farmers first.  This is why our member companies invest millions of dollars every year in Ghana, through their individual cocoa sustainability programs, as well as through our joint industry-wide programs like CocoaAction and the Cocoa Livelihoods Programme.   

Through these programs, we are committed to improving farmers’ livelihoods and incomes, and supporting thriving cocoa communities — where women are empowered, youth are attracted to cocoa farming, child labour is eliminated, and all children have access to high quality education.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me use this opportunity to congratulate the government for the bold policy decisions it has initiated in the cocoa sector, under the wise and dynamic leadership of the President of the Republic of Ghana, and supported ably by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board.

We are optimistic that the new Cocoa Sector Development Strategy will provide strategic direction and strong coordination of the sector through initiatives like the Ghana Cocoa Platform.  We are happy and proud to be a partner in all these efforts.

Two weeks ago, His Excellency the President, was in New York City to speak at the United Nations General Assembly.  He found time in his busy schedule to meet with a dozen Chief Executives from our member companies to discuss the cocoa sector in Ghana. 

We were inspired and encouraged by the President’s clear vision for the cocoa sector. The President particularly challenged our companies to accelerate investments to promote local processing, add more value in country, and enhance returns to farmers.  

We are poised to work with the government in pursuing this agenda, which will help create employment, and boost the national economy.  A critical challenge that our companies face is the adequate supply of cocoa beans for these local plants.  We are therefore committed to working with government to improve the productivity of Ghana’s cocoa farms, and help the Government achieve its production goal of one million tons of cocoa per year.

We are thrilled to know that His Majesty, the Asantehene, will be the lead cocoa consumption Ambassador. The World Cocoa Foundation stands ready to partner with His Majesty as he embarks on this important campaign to explain the health benefits of cocoa to everyone, and boost the demand for this commodity.

We also look forward to our continued collaboration with His Majesty, and the traditional authorities, on other key opportunities and challenges in the cocoa sector, such as our ongoing dialogue on land tenure issues, which are critical to helping women farmers and bringing the youth back into cocoa farming.   

Ladies and gentlemen, in closing, the World Cocoa Foundation congratulates the government and people of Ghana, especially the Ghana Cocoa Board, for this landmark anniversary.  I assure you of our continued support over your next 70 years, as we work together towards achieving a more prosperous and sustainable cocoa sector in Ghana for future generations.

Long live our partnership! Long live COCOBOD! Long live Ghana.

I thank you.