Open Letter to Cocoa Processing Company (CPC)

Thank you @1stclassballer for letting me know whom I should be directing my ire at. Cocobod, if you are found innocent, you have my apologies. But if I discover you have ANY part in this travesty, my threat to menstruate all over your Takoradi facility still stands!

Dear Whoever is in Charge at Cocoa Processing Company,

I’m seeing a trend here in Ghana’s cocoa industry. You lot clearly have no pride in what you do. I visited the management page on Cocobod’s website and was assaulted with a “coming soon” page. Thinking that your company might be a little more transparent and forthcoming in who one should apportion blame or praise, I was pleased to find a link to the Chairman’s  Annual Statement. 

It. Wasn’t. Signed.

Who is the chairman (or woman) in charge of this affront to our nation’s dignity?! Because that’s what it is: a violent, despicable attack on Ghana’s glorious past, and a grand pissing on her future. You are taking a PISS on Ghana every time you send an inferior bar of Kingsbite into the public, an offence your company has been guilty of for a decade now.

Now, before you dismiss this letter as the rant of some too known hybrid Ghanaian breezing her buns off in abrochi, allow me to assure you that I am not writing to you as a 36 year old mother of 4, but rather as an 10 year old girl who sat in a social studies class and heard the story of a Ga man named Tetteh Quarshie.

Tetteh Quarshie, as you know, trained as a blacksmith. He had an interest in agriculture and took up planting as a hobby. You might say he was Ghana’s George Washington Carver – a Black American agriculturalist who revolutionized the way we used peanuts. Tetteh Quarshie revolutionized Ghana’s economy and you have sold him out with your mediocrity!

I’m sorry. That was unfair to call you mediocre. I meant “incompetent”. Forgive me.

Am I blasting you? Yes! Because according to your website, number 3 on your core values is to be:

3. Customer-Oriented

We aim at customer delight and not mere customer satisfaction.

Well, let me tell you something. I and an entire swath of the Ghanaian chocolate eating population are far from delighted with the product you’ve been putting out over the previous 10+ years. Furthermore, my beloved Komla Dumor would have us all ask you why. Why have you deliberately chosen to do this?

But back to Mr. Quarshie.

So here’s a man who takes a voyage to Fernando Po, stayed there for 6 years (my history teacher told us he was exiled, for what crime I still don’t know) and returns with some cocoa beans. My history teacher, Mr. Dua, told the class that Tetteh Quarshie had to smuggle the beans into the country by swallowing them. He then went on to explain in great detail how Tetteh Quarshie watched and waited for the beans to appear in his poo before clearing and finally planting them.  The rest was history…oh, except for that part when some British governor tried to claim that it was HIS father who was responsible for introducing cocoa to Ghana, now that it had become such a lucrative cash crop, and not this semi-literate Tetteh Quarshie everyone was raving about. This was investigated and debunked, and THEN the rest became history.

My point is we owe a lot to the man whose hobby, a mere hobby, changed the fortune of an entire nation. We owe him a lot better than this over sweetened, diluted, misleadingly labeled piece of garbage that your company daily tries to pass for “quality” chocolate. Isn’t it bad enough that the only enduring symbols of Tetteh Quarshie’s courage and innovation are a badly constructed interchange/roundabout and a dilapidated hospital in Mampong? Can CPC at least produce a chocolate bar that we can be proud of as a nation?

You yourself know what I’m saying is true. The last time CPC won any sort of international award for its offerings was in 2005. Aba!

Let me tell you something now as a 36 year old mother of 4: I depend on chocolate. When I’m having a bad day, I look for two things to bring me back to center – Jesus and cocoa. And there are millions of women like me. You blame your slumping sales on things like “poor handling” and “a bad economy”, but as any savvy sales person will tell you, in times of economic distress people turn to comfort items. Chocolate, cosmetics and cigarettes top the list. You had the ideal moment to seize and capitalize on the moment with the slumping economy IF ONLY you had put out a product that the people wanted.

What the hell is THIS???

sadchoco

And don’t try to tell me it’s because I put it in the fridge. 1) I have better sense than that and 2) Putting chocolate in the fridge doesn’t turn it into compacted sand.

Would you do me this favor? Reach out to your customer base. We are a global force. Ehn koraa, if you don’t value my opinion as a Black woman, at least hear what this White man had to say:

bad choc

The world is WAITING for us to get it together! Is that you lack capital? Ask us! Ghanaians and friends of Ghana want to invest in our country. Give us something to give towards. Heck, start an indegogo campaign and lay out what you will use the funds for. We will give! Ask Akosua Adoma who just saved the Rex Cinema. Do you know what I’d like to see? Something on the scale of Hershey Town, PA. It’s an interactive museum which employs hundreds of people and gets people excited about spending money on chocolate! I spent a fortune there with my family, and I (and hundreds of thousands of others) would do the same in Ghana if you would just give me something to give towards.

Sweet, heavenly Jesus on the throne; do I have to tell you this? And if you pull that “Oh, that is America, this will never work in Ghana” crap, I’ll beat you. I swear on my beloved grandmother’s grave that I will find you and whip you.

Sincerely,

Malaka

  • Golding Bayeliba Abass

    I’m in total awe of the brutal honesty and passion with which this piece is written. I haven’t eaten a bar of Ghanaian chocolate in a while and I’m not very sure why. Probably because it’s not been anything extraordinary. I really hope something is done about the product though. Keep it up.