Chief Executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant, has revealed that ongoing discussions between Ghana and Ivory Coast to cut down exports of raw cocoa beans.
The decision made by the two countries, he notes, is as a result of the need to move away from exports of primary products to value addition.
“There is an agreement between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that in the medium to long term we would cut back on exports of raw beans and focus on value-addition,” stated Mr Grant.
“That’s where the focus is going now, adding value to cocoa for exports. It has a greater chance of bringing wealth to our people,” he added.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Cocoa Value Chain Investment Meeting 2021, on Thursday, Mr Grant noted that despite producing 20 percent of the world’s cocoa, Ghana earned only 3 percent from a global value chain of about $100 billion, hence the need for value addition.
Speaking at the event, CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Aidoo Boahen, noted his outfit is looking to attract more investors into processing cocoa beans for exports into huge markets such as China and now the African Continent under the African Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Currently, Ghana has the capacity to process 50 percent of the over 800,000 metric tonnes of cocoa produced annually.
According to him, China, now with a middle-income class of 700 million people with increasing disposable income and changing lifestyle are now demand for chocolate.
This he noted, is evidenced by the country’s attempt at producing cocoa on the island province of Hainan.
He posited that cocoa consumption in conventional markets such as Europe and US have been stagnant occasioned by the high number of aged persons in the two countries as they are now conscious of their sugar intake — cocoa has high sugar content.
But China and Africa have a relatively young population with the median age being 38.1 and 19.7 respectively hence providing a huge market for processed cocoa beans.
Investment opportunities present for investors in the cocoa value chain he highlighted include; mechanisation of farming with the introduction of motorised slashers and pruners, large scale irrigation of cocoa plants during the period of pre-harvesting stage, conversion of the cocoa sweat – the whitish substance around the cocoa bean – into juice and wine which has high demand in Europe, and the use of the cocoa husk for fertilizers and power production.