As Ghana prepares to celebrate the National Chocolate week, stakeholders in the cocoa sector have pledged to intensify efforts to add more value to the country’s cocoa.
According to them, this would be done by focusing more on making beans available to local entrepreneurs to enhance their value addition ventures.
Cocoa farming has for many years, been and continues to be the backbone of Ghana’s economy.
Cocoa, the biggest agricultural export of Ghana and Ghana’s main cash crop, has over the years, been increasingly patronized all over the world.
The most famous product of Ghana’s cocoa, chocolate, now comes in various varieties such as white chocolate, milk chocolate, and even powdered form, to suit the different consumers of the product.
The National Chocolate Day, an initiative of former Tourism Minister, the late Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, is a day set aside to create awareness and increase consumption of locally made chocolate products.
This year’s week celebration is set to happen from February 8 to February 14 under the theme, ‘Eat chocolate, stay healthy and grow Ghana’.
During the launch of the week’s celebration, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister-designate for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah pledged the government’s support to local entrepreneurs interested in cocoa value addition to increase consumption of the product.
“Fortunately for us, Ghanaians are beginning to understand and appreciate the health benefits of cocoa and its related products, resulting in a gradual increase in demand for high quality and good flavoured cocoa products that come in various forms.”
“Government has therefore commenced and is stepping up efforts to support local entrepreneurs and businesses who have an interest and expertise in cocoa value addition in marketing and consumption. There are various efforts to ease the setup and operation of various cocoa processing companies, and to stimulate the consumption of cocoa,” he disclosed.
Still on adding more value to cocoa, the CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, also disclosed plans to increase the incentive packages for local cocoa producers to motivate them to work harder to push the sector.
He noted, “COCOBOD is even more resolved to achieve higher glories in local processing of cocoa beans. The Board is also poised to strengthen its incentives packages to encourage local processors and artisanal chocolate makers. The incentives will ensure that the processors will be able to access more beans and innovative chocolates and other cocoa products for the consuming public.”
Mr. Aidoo stressed on the importance of innovations in chocolate making saying that, “this, we believe, will support the achievement of our policy in ensuring that 50% of cocoa produced annually is processed locally to support the high demand and taste for cocoa products in Ghana and beyond.”