Participants at a meeting to discuss ways to promote Ghana’s cocoa and chocolate industry have unanimously agreed, that the surest way to bridge the current gap between demand and supply of Ghana’s chocolate and other cocoa products is intensified efforts for investment into cocoa value addition.
The Ghana Tourism Authority, in collaboration with Ghana Cocoa Board, Cocoa Processing Company and other stakeholders in the cocoa industry, organized the meeting in Accra as part of the 2022 National Chocolate Week Celebrations.
In his welcome address, Akwasi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority said the meeting dubbed “Chocolatarium –The Business of Chocolate” was to provide a common platform for all key players on the cocoa value chain to map out strategies to sustain the cocoa and chocolate business and also ascertain various means of funding the business.
Mr. Agyemang said in addition to the already known chocolate and other cocoa products, there are some cocoa by-products that can be taken advantage of.
Dr. Francis K. Padi, Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, in a panel discussion on the topic ‘Cycle of Chocolate/Business’, said aside from chocolate, the Institute has developed more than 20 different by-products of cocoa that could be scaled up on large commercial basis. He urged members of the business community interested in investing in such products to contact CRIG for the way forward.
“By law, CRIG is not mandated to commercialize these products. We develop them to support the private sector, so all interested investors are welcome,” he added.
Vincent Okyere Akomeah, Managing Director of the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) commenting in a panel discussion on the topic ‘Marketing and Funding for Cocoa/Chocolate Business’, emphasised the premium quality of Ghana’s cocoa bean and added his voice to the call for cocoa value addition.
He said COCOBOD has consistently spearheaded the National Cocoa Consumption Campaign to create the enabling environment for the various processors, manufacturing and chocolatiers.
He also urged the private sector to take advantage of the numerous opportunities on the cocoa value chain to help grow Ghana’s cocoa sector.
Yofi Grant, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Center said there are a lot of business opportunities in Africa, following the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) and urged the business community to consider investing in the cocoa sector.
John Ampontuah Kumah, Deputy Minister for Finance, in his Special Guest Remarks, acknowledged the importance of the tourism sector in national development.
He said the cocoa sector still remains the backbone of Ghana’s economy and reiterated the readiness of the Ghana Cares Programme to partner local processors in a collective effort to increase cocoa processing and consumption.
Other speakers at the meeting were George Adjei Bekoe, Vice President of Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana as well as representatives from Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ghana Tourism Federation and Ghana Enterprises Association.