The Chief Executive Officer of the United Arab Emirates Trade Centre, Mr Walid Hareb, has urged Ghana to establish a cocoa trading platform in Dubai.
He said the platform, which could be a pilot project, would make Dubai the central point of Ghana’s cocoa, where the raw beans and chocolate could be traded.
Mr Hareb said such a platform would help Ghana access the European and the Arab markets "because the whole world is in Dubai".
According to him, many companies in the UAE were using cocoa powder to produce chocolate.
"So if we focus on cocoa by giving it a push here, it will help us position Ghana’s cocoa to feed our manufacturing food hub," he said, adding that it would also boost the trade in the product.
"It will also help grow the trade relations between Ghana and the UAE," he noted.
Mr Hareb was speaking during a courtesy call by Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, on the Undersecretary for the Standard and Legislation Sector of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology of the UAE, Madam Farah Alzarooni, in Dubai last Sunday.
Dr Akoto is in the UAE on the invitation of the Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE, Madam Marian bint Mohammed Al Mheiri, to attend a Food for Future Summit and Expo at the ongoing Expo 2020 Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Week.
As part of the visit, Dr Akoto will address the summit and also participate in a ministerial roundtable.
The meeting will look at various opportunities in the cocoa industry and how to attract investors to the sector.
Madam Alzarooni urged Ghana to position itself as the centre of certification of halal slaughterhouse in the sub-region.
She described the lack of halal certification in Ghana as a lapse.
Halal slaughter involves one pass of the blade across the throat of an animal, in which process the animal loses consciousness very quickly. In halal slaughter, the animal is allowed to completely bleed out.
According to her, few countries in Africa had such certification and, therefore, encouraged Ghana to take the opportunity and get the certification.
Madam Alzarooni said there was a huge opportunity in halal meat and hide and said Ghana could explore the opportunity "to rake in lots of hard currency".
She dispelled the perception that halal meat was purely Islamic, saying "it is about a hygienic way of preparing the meat".
In his response, Dr Akoto said such mutual collaboration was significant, since it would ensure that Ghana sold cocoa products directly to manufacturers in Dubai.
He said Ghana was keen on getting investors to partner, "so that we can consolidate what we have and also expand it".
The minister said he was excited by the interest shown in Ghana's cocoa.
On the halal certification, Dr Akoto said it was an area the country could explore, given the benefits that could accrue to Ghana.