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The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo has called on local cocoa processors and chocolatiers to take advantage of the trade opportunities in Africa, facilitated by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, (AfCFTA) to sustain the cocoa sector which is the backbone of Ghana’s economy.
Hon Boahen Aidoo, at a forum organised to interact with cocoa processors, manufacturers, chocolatiers and other key stakeholders in Accra, informed participants that COCOBOD had seen a huge market potential in AfCFTA and had, therefore, set up a Committee to liaise with the AfCFTA Secretariat and local cocoa processors to promote the consumption of Ghana’s cocoa products in Africa.
According to Hon Aidoo, as the world’s number one producer of premium quality cocoa and the second-largest producer in terms of volume, Ghana is yet to fully benefit from the precious commodity because local value addition is relatively low. He said the committee had been established to serve as a liaison between processors, local chocolatiers and industry stakeholders to take advantage of the consolidated market and reduced tariff regime that the AfCFTA agreement seeks to achieve.
“Whilst we have managed to increase our per capita consumption level to 0.6kg, we are still a long way from achieving our target of over 1kg per capita consumption.” he indicated.
The Chief Executive said the global market for processed cocoa was huge, adding that AfCFTA had the potential to strengthen and grow intra-Africa trade from the current base of 15% to 52%, if stakeholders are able to rise to the prospects it offers.
Hon Aidoo appealed to cocoa processors and chocolatiers represented at the forum to support the national cocoa consumption promotion agenda by making cocoa products available to every Ghanaian at all levels for consumption while aiming to further diversify into other finished products such as cosmetics and spices.
He further urged the processors and chocolatiers to make recommendations to help drive the cocoa consumption campaign to ensure job creation, increased revenue and ultimately, the realization of the Government’s Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
The Technical Adviser on Multilateral Regional and Bilateral Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Anthony K. Nyame-Baafi, stressed the need for stakeholders to consolidate and expand existing markets for Ghana’s cocoa products. He said it would be profitable to explore market opportunities in North, East and Southern African countries such as Egypt, Kenya and South Africa.
“There is the need to stimulate increased demand for made in Ghana cocoa products by providing timely and accurate information on market trends for Ghanaian businesses, which the Ministry is dedicated to facilitating”, he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana (COVAAG), Mrs Dela Austin, appealed to the Management of COCOBOD to facilitate easy and affordable access to cocoa beans and other cocoa-related raw materials to small scale artisans and manufacturers to feed the local market. She assured industry stakeholders that local chocolatiers would take up market opportunities by adding value to their products, and requested that conducive trade exhibition avenues should be provided regularly to serve as platforms for chocolate artisans to market their products.
Mrs Austin highlighted a number of challenges facing the association which COCOBOD Management promised to address.
Participants appealed to the government to review the huge taxes imposed on cocoa and its related products to make it easy for entrepreneurs in the sector to succeed.
Dr Edward Amporful, Chairman of the COCOBOD AfCFTA Cocoa Consumption Committee assured participants, particularly processors and chocolatiers that the Committee would work in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders to ensure the attainment of the common objective of promoting the consumption of Ghana’s cocoa beyond Ghana.
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