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CMC MD URGES STRATEGIC EVALUATION FOR A RESILIENT COCOA INDUSTRY

Date: 05th September 2023

The Cocoa Marketing Company (Gh) Ltd. (CMC), led by its Managing Director, Mr. Vincent Okyere Akomeah, recently convened a conference at the Bunso Cocoa College in the Eastern Region.   

This gathering brought together the Company's Management staff, Regional Managers, and Unit Heads to engage in some introspection on whether the company, is living up to expectations despite the challenging environment, vis a vis its corporate strategic plan implemented over the past three years.  

Mr. Akomeah opened the discussion by asking whether the company's staff could draw positive inspiration from the actions and decisions made by the management team for the betterment of the CMC. He also emphasized the importance of asking crucial questions about the company's current status, its trajectory, and whether it was providing the necessary motivation and leadership.  

"We need to find out where we are, are we on track, [and] where are we going. We need to ask a lot of questions. Are we inspiring? We need to be pragmatic and honest with ourselves. We need to say it as it is to proffer the necessary recommendations that will move the company forward," he stated.  

The Managing Director acknowledged the significant challenges faced during the 2022/23 cocoa crop season. The company received 650,000 tonnes of cocoa, falling short of the projected 850,000 tonnes, and that had adverse effects on CMC's operations.   

He noted that among the key headaches that confronted the company was the financing of the syndicated loan it assisted COCOBOD in securing, "but with the support of the generality of the staff of CMC, we were able to repay this loan one month before schedule. We have done extremely well and have to clap for ourselves. This is commendable and we are so grateful for that."  

Mr. Akomeah minced no words in revealing that as CMC basks in the glory of such an achievement, management must know that the business of CMC is evolving, and staff must also evolve since past strategies cannot be used to conquer challenges as they evolve.  

"Your solutions need to evolve and as leaders of this great institution, you also need to be dynamic to defeat the challenges we faced in the past. This is why we are here."  

Mr. Akomeah highlighted the changing landscape of the cocoa industry, where rising cocoa prices no longer guarantee success due to limited cocoa supply. He illustrated this situation with an Akan proverb: "Wo nya akokor funu a, wo nnya silver, wo nya silver a, wo nnya akokor funu," which translates to the notion that when prices rise, there may not be cocoa to sell, and when prices fall, there is an abundance of cocoa.  

The issue of cocoa smuggling to neighbouring countries like Cote d'Ivoire and Togo was also raised as a challenge affecting the cocoa industry. Mr. Akomeah acknowledged the industry's difficulties related to pricing, operations, and strategies, with CMC positioned at the centre of these challenges. He urged CMC staff to demonstrate their ongoing relevance in the face of these ever-evolving circumstances.  

The CMC boss pointed out that the early opening of the cocoa season in September 2023, serves as ample indication of the changing times.  A similar action was taken only as far back as the third week of September in the 2008/2009 Cocoa season. He acknowledged the need for CMC's management to regroup and assess the company's trajectory. 

While expressing confidence about CMC's overall resilience in the face of global and local challenges, Mr Akomeah stressed the importance of conducting critical appraisals of individual operational centres in Tema, Takoradi, and Kumasi to determine their specific contributions and costs, rather than relying on averages, which conceals a lot of details.  

"Sometimes, we use averages, but the word average is a criminal phenomenon and hides many details. People hide under average to do a whole lot of things, we don't want to put everybody in the soup."  

He advised the participants not to be leaders who will only come out to take the shine, when their subordinates have performed and retreat, when the bullets fly, encouraging them to assess themselves as leaders to face the 2023/24 cocoa season with all the confidence needed for the performance of their duties.

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