The third blog post from our friend Swedish graduate Emilie Persson out in Ghana:
One of Kuapa Kokoo’s district depots is located in Assin Akonfudi. The depot is used to store a large quantity of cocoa in jute sacks, before it is being transported to the Tema harbour for export. The depot collects cocoa from around fifteen villages. At the depot the quality is checked by people from the ‘Quality and Control Division’, a branch of a governmental board (COCOBOD) that controls cocoa production in Ghana.
One day I was able to watch a quality control officer working at the depot. One of the first steps was to check the dryness in each of the four hundred bags. Each of the bags has been given a number that indicate the village of origin and can be traced. The dryness is checked with a metal instrument called aqua-boy. The next step is to take cocoa samples from four sides of each bag to make sure the cocoa in the bag is uniformly mixed in terms of colour and size. The officer then mixes all the sampled cocoa beans and takes a smaller sample that he manually cuts open and checks for mouldy beans or beans that have germinated or in some cases have not been fermented long enough which results in a special colour. Based on the results, the officer will reject or seal the cocoa and it will be take to the port on a large trailer. Another quality control officer then does the same procedure one more time at the Tema port.
To produce good quality cocoa the farmers need to make sure that it is well fermented and well dried, two processed that demands at least two times six days. And because each bag of cocoa for Divine Chocolate can be traced back to the village of origin, the recorders are very particular about the cocoa they buy from the individual Kuapa farmer, which ensures that the cocoa in Divine is pa pa paa! – the best of the best!