GHANA – Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in partnership with Ghana Tourism Authority, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, cocoa processing companies and other stakeholders in the cocoa industry have officially launched the 2021 National Chocolate week.
The event which commenced on 8th – 14th February is aimed to promote the consumption of chocolate and cocoa products in one of the world’s leading cocoa producing companies.
Carried out under the theme: Eat Chocolate; Stay Healthy; Grow Ghana, the event is packed with activities to encourage the consumption of chocolate confectionery, beverages, and chocolate-infused dishes.
The Chocolate Week was first celebrated in February 2005, to compliment Valentine’s day, a period that globally most people relish on chocolates and thus Ghana has always jumped to the opportunity to whip up national enthusiasm for consumption of products derived from the country’s cocoa.
Launching the celebration at the Marriott Hotel in Accra on behalf of Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Minister of Information Designate, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah acknowledged the special role that cocoa and chocolate plays in the lives of Ghanaians and its impact on national development.
“Every Ghanaian, in one way or the other, derives benefit from cocoa. From foreign exchange earning to employment, food and beverages, cosmetics to the provision of social and infrastructural amenities, the cocoa business is one that can best be described as an essential and robust one with several untapped opportunities.”
He stated that among all the activities within the cocoa value chain, one aspect that requires attention is local consumption.
Leading cocoa producer with low consumption rate
Despite being the second leading producer of cocoa in the world with an annual production capacity of 900,000 tonnes, the country’s per capita consumption hovers around 0.52kg.
This is far below the consumption rate in Europe and Americas of around 6.6-kilogram per capita.
Low demand of cocoa in the domestic market has led to most of the local processing done within the economy to be at the primary level which includes conversion of the cocoa beans into cocoa butter and liqueur rather than finished products.
To this end a large percentage of the finished cocoa products on the Ghanaian market are produced outside the country which they are forced to import.
“We have the cocoa beans and the technology but the market for the finished product is just not encouraging. It’s not just the processing we want to focus on. We want to create a local demand that will spur on investors to get into local processing of finished cocoa products,” said Senior Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Mr. Fiifi Boafo.
Boosting cocoa processing by encouraging consumption
To change the narrative, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo echoed FiiFi’s sentiments stating there is a need for the nation to step up its per capita consumption of chocolate and other cocoa products locally.
This will in turn boost local production and value addition, with the products fetching higher prices in the market and ultimately reduce the export of raw cocoa beans.
To ensure ample supply of raw materials within the economy to meet the demand, COCOBOD is poised to strengthen its incentive packages to help local processors and artisanal chocolate makers expand their businesses.
Currently Ghana has seven major cocoa processing firms with an estimated processing capacity of about 500,000 metric tonnes, and the construction of a new 50,000 metric tonne capacity processing factory currently underway in the Western region.
The new factory according to Aidoo would increase the capacity of local processing to about 550,000 which puts the country in a position to meet its 50 per cent processing target from the current 40%.
“We have great support from our cocoa farmers and other stakeholders within the cocoa value chain and I would like to seize this opportunity to commend our illustrious farmers in particular for their efforts at producing the best quality cocoa for the confectionery market the world over,” said the COCOBOD boss.
Pomp and Flare
Being an event like no other, invited guests while entering at the venue were greeted by a cocoa farm entrance to bring to life the essence of the campaign. It also gave guests the opportunity to see in real life, the cocoa tree and the cocoa pods.
Two chocolate songs by sensation Ghanaian music artists, Amarado and Kofi Kinaata were also launched which will be played during the entire time of the campaign and beyond to continue sensitising people on consumption of cocoa products.
Other than spark the interest of Ghanaians to consume the products, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Food and Drugs Authority will be at the forefront in disseminating relevant information and health benefits of chocolate and other cocoa products to the public.
The launch was climaxed with the unveiling of the biggest Cocoa Pod Ghana has ever witnessed amidst fireworks and jubilation.
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