Adding value to our cocoa – let’s do more

BY: Daily Graphic
Library photo

Last Friday, President John Mahama inaugurated the Cocoa Touton Processing Company factory, which is expected to process 35,000 tonnes of cocoa beans into high-quality liquor for export annually, at the Free Zone enclave in Tema.

The inauguration of the French-owned company is an addition to other cocoa-processing companies that have come on stream in the past few months. In fact all the new companies have joined the locally owned Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) to add value to Ghana’s cocoa, which is touted the world over as being of premium quality.

Ghana currently exports more raw cocoa beans than processed cocoa, a reason why the recent addition to the cocoa processing industry should gladden the hearts of all Ghanaians.

It is estimated that presently Ghana processes about 30 per cent of its cocoa beans locally, which President Mahama says the government intends to increase to at least “half of our total production”.

But while the government’s plan to process 50 per cent of the cocoa produced in the country is laudable, more needs to be done to enable the country to rake in most of the benefits that would accrue to the country.

We know that basically the drive to get more of our cocoa processed before export would result in the creation of employment for especially the youth and also give the country more revenue.

However, the Daily Graphic believes that the employment and much needed foreign exchange that the value addition brings in its wake would only hold sway if the ordinary Ghanaian is made to benefit directly from the processed cocoa.

For instance, although the CPC has over the years produced the famed Golden Tree Chocolate, just few Ghanaians are able to afford a small bar of chocolate when they have a craving for it.

The primary reason why many Ghanaians do not patronise locally made chocolates is because they are expensive and cannot be catered for by the ordinary man’s pocket. An attempt to popularise our chocolate by designating Valentine’s Day as Chocolate Day in Ghana has not helped much.

We urge the government to provide trade incentives to the CPC and other cocoa processing companies like it, so that their end products do not end up being too expensive for the average Ghanaian to afford.

Cocoa and its by-products have many medicinal abilities and other various uses, which can be exploited for the benefit of the man on the street. We, therefore, need to popularise its various uses while we help the industry to process the raw cocoa.

Elsewhere in many European countries that do not grow cocoa, chocolates have been so popularised and attractively packaged as well as made affordable that there is a very big industry for it. 

Let us make cocoa in all its forms and uses very attractive and affordable for everyone to use. Apart from the bar of chocolate and other confectioneries, cocoa is used in many lotions and body creams; for beverages such as Milo, Bournvita, Chocolim and other brands; and also in medicines.

It does not speak well of us that despite being the second largest exporter of cocoa in the world, we have not done much as a country to popularise cocoa to make Ghana the true cocoa nation that it is.