More Questions than Answers
"Nothing has value except that which has been assigned to it", so with the not so pristine reputation of the cocoa industry. The question therefore becomes what is the value that has been assigned to cocoa indigenously and internationally and by whom? The Chocolate Has A Name ( CHAN) project posits that these values that have been assigned to cocoa are detrimental to certain persons or at the very best skewed towards the interest of certain parties.
The CHAN exhibition highlighted the Ghanaian cocoa farmer's belief that his produce is meant for foreign consumption. How did these sentiments come to be? Research shows that cocoa in Ghana was first introduced by the Basel missionaries as a means to give the indigenous churches an alternate source of income. The buck did not end with just cocoa. There is evidence to support the fact that indigenous people used cocoa in their meals. Could this be evidenced by the infusion of cocoa in Trinidadian and Caribbean cocoa balls heavily infused with spices? If so, then where is the evidence of the Ghanaian use of cocoa? Is it purely the making of 'tea' and cocoa powdered drinks?
These gaps in our knowledge go beyond just the lack of historical uses of cocoa and how the perceptions and attitudes of Ghanaians came to being. How does the farmer's position on the supply chain system make him the poorest of all? Who assigned such a value? And the thereafter consistent forces that keep him in poverty! Is this evidence of neo-colonialism?
The reality is we have more questions than we have answers. With time and with our intimate involvement in the cocoa story, these questions will be answered and the intricacies of the current paradigm of cocoa production deeply understood.
So, where and when do we start this journey of truth and renewal of our minds….? Now!