The Ghanaian Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has categorically denied an impending ban on cocoa exports due to high levels of pesticide residues on beans.
Fuad Abubaka, research officer at Cocobod told ConfectioneryNews: “The report of an imminent ban of Ghana's cocoa is based on speculation. It’s not a problem. Very few violations arise.”
“The levels that have been detected are permissible for export.”
Where did reports arise?
Ghanian news outlet Daily Guide quoted Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa, associate professor of Food Science and Technology at the University of Ghana, who said that international markets were becoming concerned about high levels of pesticide residues found on Ghanaian cocoa beans, which could pose a danger to human health.
On this basis, the website reported that Ghanaian cocoa faced an international ban.
Abubaka denied the ban and told this site that residue tests were carried out by the state-mandated Ghana Standards Authority, which had found few parcels that breached permitted levels set by national and regional authorities.
Japanese and EU exports
He said that Japan had the most exacting standards for pesticide residues globally and according to Cocobod, just over 2,000 MT of Ghanaian cocoa was rejected by Japan out of 56,000 MT shipped there in 2005. However, the organization did provide more up to date figures.
Almost 60% of Ghanaian cocoa is exported to the EU. EU rules on pesticide residues are set out in EC regulation No 396/2005 , which provides maximum permitted levels for a variety of pesticides on fermented cocoa beans.
We asked Cocobod for acceptance levels of Ghanaian cocoa in the EU, but have yet to receive a response.
Cocobod position on pesticides
Abubaka said: “Cocobod believes the use of unapproved chemicals poses a threat to the sustainability of the cocoa industry, hence has adopted appropriate measure to minimize the threat.”
He said that all chemicals used on cocoa in Ghana were screened by the Cocoa Research Institute to ensure compliance with market requirements on food safety Maximum Reside Levels (MRLs) limits before approved for use.
“There is an ongoing campaign for farmers to mainstream pest control agents that are permitted for use in EU, USA, Japan and other markets,” he added.