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How My Internship At Niche Cocoa Industry Equipped Me With Essential Skills

I am Addison Konlan, a level 300 student reading BSc. Food Science and Technology at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

My dream is to become a Nutrition, Food Security, Quality Control and Food Safety consultant.

Doing my industrial internship at Niche Cocoa Industry Limited has given me a practical understanding of everything I have been taught in the classroom.

Niche Cocoa is a perfect place to learn and develop essential skills that would make you competitive in the industrial world.

My Expectations Prior to the Internship

Prior to the internship, my goal was to gain practical knowledge in Quality Control Analysis of food products and the scientific procedures followed to process cocoa beans into finished and semi-finished products.

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My goal was also to gain knowledge in Food Product Development and how to develop highly nutritious food products for consumers.

I really learnt a lot from all the departments at Niche Cocoa Industry Limited.

I learnt how to conduct Physicochemical analysis, Microbiological and Salmonella analysis,  how to develop new products as well as the processes involved in the production of cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, cocoa cake, cocoa powder and chocolates of different recipes.

Transitional Experience

I must say transitioning from the classroom to industry was a bit challenging for me because of the gap between the classroom and industry.

In the classroom, a lot of the things we learn are more theoretical. However, in the industry, everything learnt is very practical and easy to grasp.

This industrial internship, therefore, helped me to appreciate all that I learnt in class in a more practical way.

Experiences from the stages of production in the industry

Niche Cocoa sources cocoa beans from COCOBOD, the cocoa governing body that purchases cocoa beans from the thousands of cocoa farmers across Ghana.

The types of beans are super main crop, main crop, super light crop, light crop, small, remnant and type 4.

These are classified based on their sizes as well as the fat content of the beans.

The cocoa beans are cleaned by removing all unwanted materials (physical contaminants) from the beans, which may include stones, leaves, metals and paper.

The beans are then pre-dried. This is to remove moisture to make it easier to be deshelled at the winnowing stage.

At the winnowing stage, the shells are separated from the nibs. The nibs are then roasted to de-bacterialize them (to reduce the bacteria load) and to enhance flavour.

The roasted nibs are cooled and milled using three different types of mills (pre-grinder, intermediate ball miller and the fine ball mill) and sieved afterwards using a vibrator.

The liquor is stored temporarily in tanks and either sent for tempering and packaged afterwards, sent to press to extract butter and cake or used in producing chocolate.

I really learnt a lot from all stages of the processing chain at Niche Cocoa Industry.

Benefits of the practical internship to my personal development

This internship has developed my innovative skills and has given me the ability to work under pressure and with less supervision.

It has also developed my thinking capacity, my research skills and my team working ability.

In summary, I have totally been transformed through this practical internship.

Lessons to Share with Students, Colleagues, Industry and Academia

Working in the industry requires that you should be open-minded to learn new things, be proactive, pay attention to detail and be very innovative.

As a student, young researcher or future academic, the experience gained through this practical internship contributes to making you a competitive human capital tomorrow.

Finally, you must learn to be adaptable to new environments. The industry is a completely different world compared to the classroom and you must learn to easily adapt.

Appreciation

My acknowledgement goes to Mr. Edmund Poku, the Managing Director of Niche Cocoa Industry Limited for his support and counsel throughout the internship period.

I also want to thank my Department Supervisor, Mr. John Attu, for his guidance, ideas and instructions towards making my internship a memorable one.

Secondly, my sincere gratitude goes to my academic supervisor, Dr. Nana Baah Pepra-Ameyaw, the internship coordinators, Dr. Herman Lutterodt and Dr. Gloria Ankar-Brewoo for their excellent coordination and facilitation throughout the internship period.

In addition, I want to thank all analysts and assistants at the quality control department of Niche Cocoa Industry Limited especially Mrs. Linda Boamah, Mr. Innocent Doe-Ashinyo, Mrs. Chiwendu Kalu, Mr. Asamoah Larbi, Mr. Eugene Asem and Mr. Sampson Wordi Akakpo for their help and advice during my internship period and my mini-project.

To all Teaching and Research Assistants at the Department of Food Science and Technology, most especially, Philip Junior Yeboah, Edmund Larbi Afari, Raphael Aidoo, Nii Ala Adjei and Kelvin Fynn Ofori for their continuous support and guidance in writing this mini project.

To my mother, Mrs. Hannah Laar for her unwavering support in making my internship a successful one.

In addition, to Mr. Okyere and Mrs. Okyere for accommodating me in their house and providing me with food and shelter throughout the internship period. I am much grateful.

To Cocoa Post, I want to appreciate your excellent effort in publishing this article and for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences with the world. God richly bless you!

Looking into the future

I look forward to applying all the skills I have gained to help contribute to the growth and development of the Ghanaian economy.

My major aim, for now, is to continue learning, taking up new challenges and pursuing higher education in the Field of Nutritional Sciences, Food Security and Global Health Nutrition.

This will equip me with the needed skills and expertise that would help me make a positive impact in Ghana and the world at large.

I also intend to become a Global Health and Nutrition researcher and a Food Security consultant in the near future in order to contribute to enhancing the food and nutrition needs of the growing world population.

Source Cocoa Post
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