Ghana is turning to the Chinese market as its new found grounds for its premium cocoa beans, semi-finished and finished cocoa products.
Consequently, a delegation, led by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, was at the 2nd China International Tea Expo 2018 in Huangzhou, China to explore that opportunity.
From Beijing to Huangzhou to Changscha, the Ghanaian delegation to the expo used the opportunity to showcase Ghana’s premium cocoa and cocoa products and why cocoa should be the alternative beverage in China.
The delegation was in China to attend the Tea Expo and also explore the Chinese market for Ghana’s cocoa and cocoa products.
Importance of cocoa
During a business meeting with members of the Chamber of Commerce of the Hunan Province in Changscha, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Mr Joseph Aidoo, took the people through the origin of cocoa and how it came to Ghana.
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He educated them on the health benefits of cocoa products, citing, for example, that Japanese scientists had confirmed that consuming chocolate with high concentration of cocoa had improved the intelligence of children who consumed the product.
Mr Aidoo said there was a scientific confirmation of the numerous health benefits associated with the consumption of cocoa as a beverage or chocolate.
“Scientifically it has been proven that when you take a lot of cocoa, it fights against diabetes, it fights against cancer, and all cardiovascular diseases, among others, so the more cocoa you take the lower your heart pressure,” he told them.
He told them to consider including cocoa to tea and coffee because of what they stood to gain, explaining that, scientifically, cocoa had antioxidants, which were anti-aging properties.
Mr Aidoo told the members of the chamber that the continuous consumption of dark chocolates and the raw unsweetened cocoa powder (with no milk, no sugar, and no additives) helped protect the body against diseases associated with oxidative stress such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, the cancers, anaemia and also build bone mass.
Why the Asian market
Mr Aidoo explained that Ghana was turning to the Asian market because even though the world cocoa market was $120 billion, “when it comes to production, all the cocoa producing countries in the world take less than 10 per cent of that amount.
“The bulk of the money is in the processing and this is done in Europe and America and that is why we need partners like you so that we can share,” he explained.
Mr Aidoo explained that even though Ghana had lost its first place as the leading producer of cocoa to its neighbouring Ivory Coast, it was putting in place strategies to recapture the enviable title as the world leading cocoa producer, “and that is why we are looking for the market, which will be a win-win situation.”
Purpose of visit
Explaining the purpose of the visit of the Ghanaian delegate, the Ambassador of Ghana to the People’s Republic of China, Mr Edward Boateng, said the visit was to seek the possibility of making the Hunan Province the hub of Ghana’s cocoa in China.
Various cocoa products
Taking the people through the various steps from the cocoa beans to semi-finished and finished products, the Managing Director of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Nana Agyenim Boateng, touted the health benefits of the Ghana premium cocoa and justified why cocoa should be one of the main beverages in every home in China.
Of particular interest to the adult Chinese, were the Aspire chocolate, which is sugar-free, the Coffee Choc, which is coffee flavoured milk chocolate and the Tetteh Quarshie Bar, which is the dark chocolate.
And it was a delight to watch as some of the Chinese at the various programmes grabbed the different cocoa products such as the chocolates, pebbles and bread spread after learning of the various inherent health benefits they stood to gain by consuming the products.
Responding, the Vice Director-General of the Department of Commerce of the Hunan Province, Mr Li Xinqiu, was excited to learn that there were so many health benefits from taking cocoa and cocoa products.
He said with his health condition, he would start taking the dark chocolates and the raw unsweetened cocoa powder, “and when really works for me, I will personally promote the cocoa products.”