As Ghana prepares to join the rest of the world to celebrate Valentine’s Day, gifts like chocolate, especially Golden Tree Kingsbite Chocolate, has run out of stock in a number of shops in Accra.
The day is referred to as “Chocolate Day” in Ghana through government’s initiative to ensure that chocolate and other cocoa products are consumed as they bring many health benefits to the consumer.
Hence chocolate is often among the items people purchased for their loved ones on Val’s Day.
Mostly marked with the colour ‘Red’, the day inspires people to present hampers often containing red rose flowers, red and white mugs, teddy bears, champagnes, cookies, chocolates, red underwear, and dresses, among other things.
The Ghana News Agency, on its market survey on Saturday, the eve of Valentine’s Day, observed that traders were cashing in on the season by selling chocolates and other cocoa products.
A visit to the Central Business District of Accra, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Lapaz, Dome and the Kaneshie markets revealed that the big size of Kingsbite chocolate was selling at GH¢7.00, while the medium was selling at GH¢5.00, but most of the traders complained of product shortage.
The traders said they could barely get the small sizes to sell and the big and medium sizes were also not in good supply as compared to some few years ago when chocolates were in abundance and in stock at many shops.
“Those days you could see chocolates being sold on table-tops or by street hawkers before or during Valentine’s days, however, this year’s situation is different as a number of shops and vendors can hardly get the chocolates to sell,” Madam Yaaya Afriyie, a retailer at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, said.
She said she purchased few Golden Tree Chocolates from wholesale shops in Accra because of the shortage in supply.
“Anytime we went to COCOBOD, we were informed they were finished so most retailers usually bought the few they could get from the wholesale shops here,” she said.
Madam Afriyie said they had to deal in flowers, mugs, perfumes, teddy bears and other foreign chocolates to complement the few chocolates they had for sale.
She said she and her friends traded in other chocolates like ‘Amor,’ which costed GH¢8.00 and Magic Chocolates, sold at GH¢5.00 for two pieces.
Meanwhile, a box of Tetteh Quarshie Premium and Kingsbite Golden Tree chocolates sold at GHS60, she said.
Madam Afriyie urged government to ensure more local chocolates were produced to meet the demands of consumers, including Ghanaians and foreign nationals.
However, the story was quite different for Madam Cynthia Ankomah, the Chief Executive Officer of Adwene Sisa Company Limited in Accra, as she had not been affected by the shortage.
She said she purchased Golden Tree chocolates directly from the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Tema, and in large quantities but added that sales were not as good as last year.
“Last year, sales were better as compared to this year. Due to the pandemic and restrictions on social gatherings, people usually purchase them in smaller quantities to enjoy with few people and families at home,” she said.
“Unlike last year where people were having Valentine parties with chocolates, which induced them to purchase in higher quantities, the story is different this year.”
Ms Vida Anim, a trader at Lapaz, who decided to sell Valentine’s Day presents in addition to her usual sale of bedroom slippers, said although sales were moving slowly, she believed the situation would change on Sunday, February 14, as many people would purchase the presents for their loved ones.
Madam Victoria Tunde, a retailer of chocolate in Accra, said the product run out of stock from the beginning of the week, a situation which had resulted in scuffles amongst retailers, who had to struggle to get some to sell.
“When we go to COCOBOD to purchase them to sell, some retailers end up arguing and fighting with one another because everyone wants to get it to make some profits during the season as customers keep asking for it,” she explained.