The Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr John Ampontuah Kumah, has called for value addition of the country’s cocoa beans to fully benefit from the $130-billion global market.
According to him, the current earnings on cocoa which was just around $2 billion was paltry and there was the need to focus on value addition to boost the economy.
Mr Kumah said this during the Chocolatarium Business Summit organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) as part of the Second Edition of the National Chocolate Week in Accra yesterday.
The event which was under the Ghana CARES Obaatan Pa Programme, sought to promote and support local businesses in the cocoa value chain.
The Deputy Minister said government was committed to increasing the local consumption of cocoa and that it was putting in place measures to increase the country’s capacity to process cocoa locally.
He said the current national installed cocoa processing capacity was around 544,000 tonnes, and said some of the cocoa processing factories were operating below their capacities.
“If you add what our artisanal producers are also doing, then the need for a strategic focus becomes clearer,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), MrYofi Grant, said despite being one of the world’s largest cocoa producers in the world, Ghana did not earn much from cocoa due to the inability of the country to add value to cocoa.
He said the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) offered a fine platform for players in the artisanal cocoa sector to increase their operation.
“If businesses through the AfCFTA can take their products to other markets on the continent and compete favourably, it will serve as a catalyst and encouragement to move into Europe and other continents,” the GIPC CEO said.
Mr Grant urged financial institutions to allocate part of their portfolios to support companies to enter into cocoa processing.
The CEO of GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, said the objective of GTA was to highlight the health benefits of cocoa to boost the consumption of the product.
“Our focus is to make sure within the hospitality and tourism space cocoa and chocolate consumption goes up and also inured to the benefit of farmers, producers and everybody within the value chain,” he said.
He called for private sector participation to sustain the programme to boost the consumption of cocoa.