The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has given an assurance that it will continue to facilitate the adequate production and reliable supply of cocoa beans for local processing and export.
That plan is also part of an initiative to support the private sector and position the country to become the chocolate and confectionery hub of Africa by 2030.
That, the regulator said, was the surest way to leverage Ghana’s increasing trend of cocoa production to become a key player in the global value chain and achieve prosperity for farmers.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, who gave the assurance at the third Ghana Cocoa Awards in Accra last Friday, challenged entrepreneurs, investors and other relevant stakeholders to partner the government to establish chocolate manufacturing firms that could profit Africa’s over 1.2 billion consumers and beyond.
“Is it not ironic that the continent that produces nearly 75 per cent of global cocoa is an importer of chocolate and confectionary products?
All five of Africa’s biggest economies — Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria and Morocco — are importers of chocolate from the same Western countries to which Africa supplies raw cocoa,” he said.
Mr Aidoo observed that it was an obvious unfortunate situation to create job opportunities in already developed economies, while leaving the youth of Africa with limited choices.
“We need to redirect our efforts towards value addition, while taking advantage of opportunities offered us by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to turn Africa into a cocoa manufacturing and consuming region,” he said.
According to him, the demand for cocoa products continued to be on the ascendancy in emerging economies of the Middle East, Turkey, Russia and Asia, which added another impetus.
“Let us move away from being comfortable with the meagre US$3 billion foreign exchange to a US$50-billion earner by 2030.
And, yes, cocoa being the most important raw material for the world’s number one sweet presents us that leverage,” he added.
Farm gate price
The Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, said the government would continue to take keen steps to improve the cocoa value chain.
“In spite of international pressure, the President reinforced his commitment to the country’s cocoa farmers by maintaining the farm gate price in the early period and tasked the cocoa regulator to devise a sustainable solution to the challenge.
“Through a historic joint effort by the President and his Ivorian counterpart, we have succeeded in achieving a living income differential of $400 per tonne of cocoa for our cherished farmers, expressed through a major leap in the producer price of cocoa,” she said.
Positive for farmers
Mrs Osei-Opare said farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire were now better off compared, to farmers in other cocoa-producing countries.
He said the government would continue its effort to ensure that the welfare of farmers was paramount, as it strived to achieve a sustainable cocoa economy.
“Having come this far in the areas of farmer welfare protection, cocoa production, among others, this government wants to turn its attention to local cocoa processing, value addition and consumption.
“The government has already demonstrated that it can achieve what it sets out to accomplish within the cocoa industry,” she said.
She challenged the management of COCOBOD to take the industry to the next level by expanding the cocoa processing sub-sector and increasing consumption, both locally and within the sub-region.
That, she said, had the potential to significantly increase the revenue generated from the cocoa industry for the country.
The awards night
There were 37 awards presented to various organisations and personalities whose exceptional contribution to the cocoa industry, and by extension the Ghanaian economy, could not be overlooked.
Some of the organisations which received awards were Olam Ghana, ECOM Ghana, Cocoa Life Ghana, Fairafric Ghana, GLICO General and AMP Logistics (GH) Limited.
Personalities such as Vincent Okyere Akomeah (CMC), Edmund Agyapong Poku, Nicholas Kumah (ELIHO Ghana), Charity Naa Anima Sackitey and Nana Kwabena Ponkoh II were also rewarded.