Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ohene Cocoa, Nana Aduna II, has said the production and export of cocoa beans by China must be a wakening call for Ghana to be more aggressive at adding value to cocoa beans beyond the conventional chocolate and cocoa powder.
According to Nana Aduna II, who is a cocoa farmer and cocoa value addition entrepreneur, the entry of China into the cocoa industry should be seen in a positive light by Ghanaians as that will challenge the country to strive in deriving more benefits from the crop by adding value to it.
“China’s entry is a very positive move. It should spur Ghana on to be more aggressive about cocoa value addition beyond chocolate and cocoa powder,” he opined in a interview.
News about China exporting cocoa to Belgium has unsettled many in Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa beans exporter.
Concerns are that the Chinese, with capital and technology, will outcompete Africa’s cocoa producers whose economies depend massively on the commodity.
But Nana Aduna II is convinced the government of Ghana’s novelty One District One Factory Initiative could be used to catalyse a paradigm shift in the country’s cocoa industry where domestic value addition becomes the order of the day.
Pharmacist and cocoa consumption promoter, Dr Edward Amporful, agrees with Nana Aduna II, saying, “Everybody knows that we will make more money when we add value to the bean. Because we sell raw beans to the markets, the price is dictated to us, but if we add value, the possibilities are limitless.”
The passionate cocoa consumption advocate is the chairman of a new committee by Ghana’s cocoa regulator COCOBOD tasked to assess and recommend how local processing and value addition enterprises could be supported to access Africa’s novel US$3-trillion continental trade platform – AfCFTA.
“Local processors and cocoa value addition artisans are our major stakeholders in our drive to add value to the cocoa beans so that the farmer at the end of the day also benefits because then we can give the farmer a price worth his labour”, Dr Amporful intimated.
For Nana Aduna, China’s entry into the league of cocoa-producing countries could serve as a necessary impetus for Ghana to develop simple and appropriate technologies to add value.
He noted the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) could be instrumental in this direction, having already successfully developed dozens of products out of cocoa begging for commercialization.
Last October, China announced it has successfully made its first-ever cocoa beans export to Belgium.
According to the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) the cocoa was produced by South China’s island province of Hainan.
The first batch of 500 kg of the China cocoa beans, worth 3,044 euros (about $3,600), was produced in Xinglong, a township of Hainan with a tropical climate.