Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Aidoo Boahen, has said China’s huge middle income class numbering about 700 million people, presents a huge opportunity for Ghana’s cocoa industry.
According to Mr Boahen, China’s huge middle income class with increasing disposal income are having an increased appetite for cocoa consumption.
Speaking to norvanreports on the sidelines of the Cocoa Value Chain Investment Meeting 2021 organised in partnership with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) on Thursday, Mr Boahen noted the increased demand for cocoa in China is due to the change in the lifestyle of the Chinese.
“China has a population of about 1.4 billion with a middle income class of 700 million people. Their lifestyle has changed, and they have started taking in chocolate, so the market over there is huge,” he stated.
Mr Boahen made the assertion in a response to a question posed to him concerning the production of cocoa beans by China.
Commenting on it, Mr Boahen stated that Ghana’s geographic location and conditions gives Ghana a comparative advantage over China in terms of large and quality cocoa production.
According to Mr Boahen, China’s pilot production of cocoa beans is no threat to the country’s cocoa industry.
“We don’t have to be worried about that tiny island, because our geographic conditions give us the comparative advantage,” he opined.
“Cocoa cannot thrive in areas where temperature falls below 18 degrees celsius, in Ghana our temperature is always above 21 degrees celsius, but on that island, temperature can go as low as 14 degrees celsius and with that temperature in winter all the leaves will dry and you don’t see that in Ghana, so don’t worry,” he added.
COCOBOD’s decision to export processed cocoa to the Asian super power is due to stagnant consumption of cocoa in conventional markets – EU and US – due to aged persons who are now taking into consideration their sugar intake.
Speaking further, Mr Boahen stated that cocoa production over the medium to long term is expected to increase to 1.5 million metric tonnes annually.
Adding that, the COCOBOD is now looking at increasing the country’s processing capacity to be able to export and enjoy a bigger portion of the $100 billion global cocoa value chain from the country’s current level of less than 3 percent as a result of no value addition to its cocoa.
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.