The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has challenged Ghanaians to take keen interest in the cocoa sector value chain by investing in business opportunities in the sector beyond farming.
It said while the country had distinguished itself to become the second biggest producer of cocoa, and only supplier of premium quality beans in the world, it was yet to produce big time entrepreneurs in the cocoa sector to rival their counterparts in other countries.
A Senior Public Affairs Manager at COCOBOD, Mr Fiifi Boafo, said this was in spite of the fact that the sector offered enormous business opportunities, right from input supplies through the manufacturing of equipment to the processing of the bean into finished products.
Mr Boafo said at the senior high school (SHS) National Culinary Competitions last week in Accra that people needed to invest a little more of their interest, commitment and finances into the cocoa sector and stand the chance of flourishing into great cocoa entrepreneurs from the country.
He noted that beyond serving as sources of income to the business owners and the economy, the emergence of Ghanaian cocoa entrepreneurs would go a long way to improve the lot of farmers and the other players in the sector.
In that regard, Mr Boafo said COCOBOD was ready to support such business ideas by offering its fullest commitment to the inventors and their initiatives to succeed.
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Potentials and opportunities
Making the case for Ghanaians to take keen interest in the business opportunities in the cocoa sector, Mr Boafo recalled that recent publications about the Chinese using a mechanical platform to dry cocoa beans had prompted questions about why Ghana still used manpower to undertake such activities, in spite of faming cocoa for more than 140 years.
While stating that the country had such mechanised platforms, he said such developments needed to inspire indigenous investors to start thinking of how they could intervene to help address the challenges and also make money.
“What is the engineering community doing about the opportunity to create such technologies for farmers,” he asked.
“Ghana’s cocoa industry belongs to all Ghanaians. The potentials and opportunities within the sector are there for you to explore and take advantage of, based on your skill set.
“We must take up the challenge and become cocoa entrepreneurs aside cocoa farming. I can on behalf of the management of COCOBOD promise you the fullest cooperation when one comes up with any such intervention,” the Senior Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD said.
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Mr Boafo said the board was working hard to maximise earnings from the cocoa sector by encouraging companies to process more cocoa domestically.
He said although Ghana and the Ivory Coast together produce about 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa, the two countries were only playing in the smaller league as the entire value of raw cocoa beans worldwide was estimated to be about US $12 billion.
“On the other hand, the chocolate market is valued at about US$110 billion. This indicates that adding value to our cocoa comes with higher returns than exporting raw cocoa beans.”
“It is for this reason that the government of Ghana has decided to implement measures that will make it possible for not less than 50 per cent of cocoa produced in the country to be processed locally for local consumption and export,” he said.
He said COCOBOD was aware that for that target to be achieved, the workforce would have to be trained in all the services within the value chain, such as, warehousing, chocolate and other cocoa products manufacturing, packaging, wholesale and retail and other logistical services that generate revenue within the cocoa sector.
National Culinary Competitions
Mr Boafo said the board saw the SHS National Culinary Competition as an avenue to explore various recipes that cocoa could be used for to help and maximise its use in our homes.
He said it also saw it as an opportunity to inculcate the habit of cocoa consumption into children to help increase the per capita consumption of the product.
The competition saw SHSs competing among each other to produce recipes from cocoa and its derivatives.