Ghana is inching closer to meet the 50 per cent local processing target of cocoa beans produced in the country, Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has hinted.
He said the country was currently processing about 43 per cent of cocoa beans locally and was, therefore, confident of meeting the 50 per cent target soon.

The minister said that in his keynote address at the launch of the National Chocolate Week celebrations.

The government in 2017 announced an ambitious plan to increase cocoa production to one million metric tonnes (MT) as it improved the local processing of the beans to 50 per cent.

The country already has seven major cocoa processing firms and with an estimated processing capacity of about 500,000 mt, with the construction of a new 50,000 capacity processing factory in the Western Region currently ongoing.

The new factory, when completed, will increase the capacity to about 550,000 tonnes which put them in a position to meet the government’s 50 per cent processing target.

The country also in the 2020/2021 cocoa season set a new cocoa production record of 1.033 million tonnes to beat the 2021/2022 record of 1.024 million tonnes.

“The last three years have seen government, COCOBOD and other stakeholders become more aggressive in our agenda to increase local processing and consumption. I am sure you can all attest to how we have sustainably rolled out programmes to gradually enhance the country’s per capita consumption of cocoa from just half a kilogramme in 2017 to nearly 1.0kg as at now.

“Our processing feat currently hovers around 43 per cent following the continuous support that government has extended to processors, chocolatiers as well as other ancillary assistance provided through the cocoa consumption campaign,” the minister stated.

He said this was the time for the country to be more resilient in its value addition drive with even an expanded focus on having all annual cocoa beans processed locally.

“This is a sure way to increase the country‘s chances of raking in substantially from the over US$150 billion revenue accrued from the global chocolate confectionery industry annually,” he noted.

Guarantee of light crop

Although the country currently boasts of the required installed processing capacity to process majority of its cocoa beans locally, the challenge has been the inability of the local processors to buy the main crop which is usually sold on the international market at a premium price.

These processors have therefore been forced to rely on the light crop which is relatively cheaper.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah, therefore, pointed out that for the country to further increase its local processing of cocoa beans, there must be a guarantee of the light crop for the local processors.

“As we know, the main crop is comparatively more expensive. If we are serious about boosting local processing, then we must move quickly to ensure that local processors are able to fully meet their beans need from the light crop” he stated.

He also charged COCOBOD to use policy instruments to ensure that financing support is provided for domestic processors.

“The financial sector should be incentivised to provide financing for the domestic processors using the cocoa beans as security and escrowing into an account of the off-takers. The challenge of financing domestic processors will be lightened via this channel,” he added.

He said although the incentives offered by the Ghana Free Zones Authority were endearing enough to attract more domestic processors, they weren’t well known.

“These incentives should be better highlighted by the Freezones Authority and COCOBOD to attract more processors to set up in the freezones area and then process,” he said.

Chocolate week celebrations

The National Chocolate Week Celebration, which is being held on the theme, ‘Eat Chocolate, Stay healthy, Grow Ghana’ seeks to promote local consumption of chocolate and other cocoa-based products among others.

The National Chocolate Day Celebration was instituted in 2005 to coincide with Valentine’s Day which falls on 14th February every year.

What used to be a day of celebration, was transformed into a week-long celebration in 2022 due to the numerous benefits the country stood to gain if the cocoa industry was nationally promoted.

The Senior Public Relations Officer of COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo, said just like the past two years, much focus would be placed on artisanal chocolate makers, as well as introducing farmers and children to chocolate.

“We shall set up the chocolate city and other points in Tema, Cocoa House, Osu, Kumasi, Takoradi which we will call the melting points.

“At the chocolate city, a lot of artisanal chocolatiers will exhibit their products,” he stated.


SOurce: citinews


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