In furtherance of QCC’s mission of facilitating trade in agricultural produce (especially cocoa beans) on the local and international markets through the provision of world class inspection services, various activities are carried out by the Field Operations Department to ensure that cocoa beans delivered to clients is;
- well fermented
- thoroughly dry
- free from smoke and any other foreign odour
- not adulterated
- reasonably free of living insects, broken beans, fragments and foreign matter (anything non-cocoa)
- homogenous in sizes
These activities are summarized below;
INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION OF WAREHOUSES
- The department inspects and certifies storage facilities (for cocoa beans) of Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) and Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC).
INSPECTION OF PRODUCE
- Bags of cocoa purchased by the LBCs up-country (cocoa growing areas) are graded and sealed by field staff of the department. Based on a set of quality parameters, they are designated as Grade I, Grade II and substandard (SS) following a careful analysis of sampled beans. Bags of cocoa labelled as Grade I are of superior quality, with Grade II being slightly inferior to Grade I, and beans below the standard of Grade II labelled as Sub-Standard.
- ‘Check Sampling’ (confirmation of the original grades assigned parcels of cocoa upcountry) is carried out upon the arrival of the parcels at the Ports (Take-Over Centres). These are located at Tema, Takoradi, and Kaase (Ashanti Region).
- Prior to the delivery of parcels of cocoa beans to international as well as local clients, the parcels undergo a third and final inspection to ensure that their quality has not been compromised during storage.
- Aside Cocoa, the department is also responsible for the inspection of other agricultural produce like cashew, coffee and shea –nut.
- The department is also responsible for the disinfestation of warehouses of LBCs and the Cocoa Marketing Company, where cocoa is stored, as well as the fumigation of cocoa and other produce.
- QCC also provides disinfestation services to the public (Schools, Hotels, Hospitals, Residential facilities, etc.) at a reasonable fee.
The post-harvest activities of COCOBOD start with quality control measures of QCC. QCC is therefore reponsible for inspection grading and sealing of cocoa, coffee and sheanut for the local and the international markets. Quality Control Company Limited (QCC) is also responsible disinfestation of produce. Both functions are performed at the up-country and the take-over-centres(TOC). QCC’s up-country activities are made up of two main Sections:
Disinfestation services Section
Both functions are performed for prescribed fees.
The Company deals with Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) and farmers in the cocoa, coffee and sheanut sectors as well as the general public.
Inspection And Certification Of Sheds and Warehouses
The Company is responsible for the inspection and certification of the storage facility of the LBCs. The LBCs are responsible for erecting or locating storage facility for the purchase and storage of cocoa and produce. However, it is the sole responsibility of QCC to inspect such facilities and issue a “Certificate of Registration of premises” for such premises, which are then designated as “Scheduled Grading Centres” No grading and sealing activity is conducted in any storage facility that has not been certified by QCC.
Inspection, Grading and Sealing Of Produce
Inspection, grading and sealing of produce are carried out at scheduled grading centres. Grading begins with “cut-testing analysis”.Any produce which is graded and sealed is covered by a certificate called “Certification of Inspection Produce”.Check-testing which involves selecting at random, some graded produce for examination by the supervisor to confirm the grade of sealed produce. Depending on the percentage of defective beans/nuts, the existing grade of the various products are:
COCOA : Grade I, Grade II, Sub-standard and Cocoa Waste
COFFEE : Type I, Type II, Type III
SHEANUT : Exportable, Non exportable
Currently, there are seventy-three (73) Cocoa Districts within which the Company operates. Each District is headed by a District Quality Control Officer (DQCO), who is supported by a number of Assistant Quality Quality Control Officers (AQCOs). The AQCOs conduct inspection, sampling, grading, sealing, certification of cocoa and other produce, as well as the disinfestation of produce and warehouses. In addition, they interact with farmers and educate them on the preparation of good quality produce.
The disinfestations activities which were performed on zonal basis has since 2006/2007 cocoa year been decentralized and being carried out at each district office. These activities are geared towards the control of storage pests to maintain the quality of produce.