GHANA – Ghana, the second largest producer of cocoa in the world, has reiterated its commitment towards locally processing half of the cocoa that it produces.
The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo echoed the government’s stand after holding a closed-door meeting with Executive Directors of AfDB at the COCOBOD headquarters, in Accra.
According to the Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Mr. Fiifi Boafo, the meeting was a precursor to the final processes for the disbursement of the US$600m AfDB credit facility to finance crucial projects aimed at boosting Ghana’s cocoa sector.
Mr. Fiifi Boafo indicated, the parties accepted the need for Ghana to go beyond just producing to processing, as stated boldly by President Nana Akufo Addo on his recent state visit to Switzerland.
Key components under the facility include rehabilitation of moribund cocoa farms, irrigation projects, warehousing, consumption promotion, and processing and value addition to the cocoa beans, according to a Ghana Web report.
Dean of the Executive Directors of AfDB, Dr. Bright Erakpoweri Okogu while addressing journalists after the meeting expressed confidence in COCOBOD for its efforts at sustainable value creation and addition in the cocoa sector.
The COCOBOD chief further noted that access to capital has historically been a major challenge for the domestic cocoa processing industry, as such the AfDB facility was crucial to resolve that challenge.
He assured COCOBOD will prudently and efficiently apply the loan facility to the intended purposes to ensure the sustainable growth of Ghana’s cocoa industry.
This development came days after the Ghanaian government partnered with Glico TCHO, a leading Japanese food company which produces chocolates and confectioneries, to set up the first ever Sensory Evaluation & Bean Quality Laboratory and a Quality Training Centre at Akyem Tafo in the Eastern Region.
The Laboratory and Training Centre when completed, will be the first ever flavour testing laboratory in Africa.
The project, which is to be completed in 6 months’ time will be fully funded by Glico TCHO at a cost of USD 170,000.
It will also enable Ghana to soon become a major producer of fine flavour cocoa beans joining Madagascar which produces and exports both fine flavour cocoa beans and the bulk or ordinary cocoa beans.
Currently, the total installed capacity for processing cocoa is a little above 400,000 metric tonnes, giving the indication that the country is on the right path to achieving its medium-term policy goal of processing 50% of its cocoa before export.
There are about five large processing companies operating in the country all at various levels of processing.
These are the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Barry Callebaut, Afrotropics, Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland (which has been acquired by Olam).
The cocoa sector is one of Ghana’s economic backbones. Ghana is not only the second largest producer of cocoa in the world, but it produces the world’s highest quality cocoa.
The cash crop accounts for about 9% of Ghana’s GDP and makes up about one-third of the country’s export revenues, totalling over US$1.5 billion.