Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Ecom Ghana, Mr Rahul Gopinath has been adjudged Cocoa Personality of the Year at the 2020 Ghana Cocoa Awards, held in Accra.
Mr Gopinath, who also won the CEO of the Year, beat stiff competition from Head of Cocoa Life Ghana, Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, to win the ultimate award on the night.
Madam Peprah Amekudzi settled for the Sustainability Personality of the Year award while Cocoa Life Ghana was also adjudged Sustainability Initiative of the Year.
This year’s event, dubbed the COVID-19 Resilience Edition and held under the theme ‘The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – Prospects and Opportunities for Ghana’s Cocoa’, was aimed at recognising the efforts of companies and individuals in the Ghana cocoa industry within the year.
Other awards on the night included Entrepreneur of the Year, which went to Michael Zormelo of Omnifert Limited, with the Outstanding Contribution of the Year won by Robert Austin, Country Director, Meda Ghana.
In all, 30 awards were presented to companies and individuals, as well as 12 special awards for personalities and institutions.
Speaking at the event, CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board and the 2019 Cocoa Personality of the Year, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo congratulated winners for their performance and efforts in ensuring a vibrant cocoa industry.
He urged Ghanaians to consume cocoa products so the country does not only produce for export but companies could rely on local consumption.
With a population of over 29 million, and the youth forming the majority, he said, cocoa products must be consumed here to not only boost local production, but ensure that young people gain the health benefits of consuming cocoa products.
The cocoa industry, he added, had huge prospects as efforts were being put in place to ensure Ghana produced three million metric tonnes of cocoa annually.
“Now we are doing vertical production where 40 bags of cocoa can be produced on an acre of land with over 2000 pods of cocoa registered on one tree, meaning farmers would not require large acres of land to produce cocoa,” he stated.
In addition to mechanised farming, he said, everyone would benefit from the $100 billion cocoa industry in future.
CEO for Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mr Yofi Grant added that Ghana needed to do more as far as the consumption of cocoa was concerned despite being a global leader in production.
“Ghana exported a total number of 13.4 million worth of chocolate and other products containing cocoa to the world, with Nigeria remaining the highest consumer of Ghanaian chocolate,” he stated.
“There are enormous opportunities that Ghana has not exploited with cocoa, and we are sitting on a product that has enormous potential that could be utilised,” he added.
He was, however, optimistic that with ongoing interventions by government and other stakeholders, the cocoa industry would grow and become very vibrant as expected.