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COCOBOD signs pact with Chinese firm

BY: Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh
Mr Emmanuel Opoku (right) and Mrs Yang Jing signing the agreement
Mr Emmanuel Opoku (right) and Mrs Yang Jing signing the agreement

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has signed an agreement with the China National Complete Engineering Corporation (CCEC) to support the cocoa industry through a comprehensive cocoa sector development programme.

Under the agreement, which was signed at the stand of COCOBOD at the China International Import Exposition in Shanghai, the CCEC will provide $1.5 billion to support the COCOBOD pursue a number of projects to increase cocoa production and processing.

The Deputy Chief Executive, Operations, Mr Emmanuel Opoku, signed the agreement on behalf of COCOBOD, while the Managing Director of CCEC, Mrs Yang Jing, signed on behalf of the Chinese corporation.

The funds are to be used for the provision of solar-powered pumps to irrigate cocoa farms, warehousing facilities for the storage of cocoa beans, production of high-yielding seedlings as well as the construction of roads to open up cocoa growing areas.

Background

The Senior Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Noah Amenya, said the effort was aimed at penetrating the Chinese market with processed cocoa powder and chocolate.

He said for the past 15 years, COCOBOD had been exporting 3,000 tonnes of cocoa beans to China, through Genertic, a Chinese company that receives cocoa beans as part of the payment for the Chinese loan used in constructing the Bui Power project.

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Mr Amenyah said China presented a big market because of the dominant youth and middle income population who had the predisposition for products such as chocolate.

He noted that the Chinese had a culture of consuming natural products, particularly those which tasted bitter, and that was where cocoa powder and black chocolate had the advantage.

Additionally, he said, the health properties of cocoa made it competitively favourate since the Chinese were obsessed with healthy food.

He said as a testimony of the potential of chocolate in the Chinese market, most of the visitors to the COCOBOD stand at the exhibition centre preferred chocolate, particularly the black chocolate and cocoa powder.

Genertic

The Managing Director of Genertic Ghana, Mr David Yang, said the company was instrumental in securing a Chinese government loan for the establishment of a 40,000-tonne annual cocoa processing factory under construction at Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region.

He said China was determined to support the government’s policy of processing at least 50 per cent of cocoa beans to be exported to China as part of efforts to deepen trade relations between the two countries in a mutually beneficial manner.

Mr Wang commended the COCOBOD for the level of cooperation extended to Genertic.