COCOBOD says artisanal chocolate makers to buy beans directly from Cocoa Marketing Company
The policy, which starts this year, will provide relief for the small-scale processors to address the issues of high production cost characterised with buying beans from secondary sources and access to beans.
It is also a way of supporting the growth of small businesses to reduce unemployment in the country.
“We wish to implore such firms not to take this opportunity for granted but rather use it to expand, innovate and diversify their production lines to maximize profit,” Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, said in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Ray Ankrah, Deputy CEO, at the launch of the 2024 National Chocolate Week Celebration.
Mr Aidoo said the Board had mounted aggressive campaigns in recent years to change attitudes among the citizenry towards local consumption of cocoa.
From 2017, as part of a broader strategy to transform the cocoa sector, the Board rolled out various schemes aimed at processing at least 50% of cocoa produced annually in the country to improve upon an inherited per capita consumption of 0.45kg to at least 1kg within a 5-7 year period.
He said the 500,000mt installed capacity presented an opportunity for major policies to address the relatively low processing and consumption levels.
“Through targeted campaigns, educational initiatives, and collaborative efforts with stakeholders, we have witnessed a gradual shift in consumer attitudes towards locally produced cocoa products and this has translated into the realization of a per capita consumption of 1kg,” he said.
Mr Aidoo said there was a need to consolidate the gains, considering the per capita consumption of cocoa in Europe and Americas ranged from 7kg to 11kg.
He said the Chocolate Week Celebration, which has initiatives like Chocolate City at the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout and Nationwide Campaign every February, had not only raised awareness about the nutritional benefits of cocoa but also celebrated its national and cultural significance, fostering a sense of pride in our national produce, cocoa.
“The emergence of innovative cocoa-based products in the local market triggered by the massive support of hundreds of small-scale artisanal chocolate makers has increased the growing acceptance and appreciation for home-grown chocolates and other cocoa-based confectioneries,” he said.
Touching on beans shortage, Mr Aidoo said illegal mining, climate change, disease and pest attacks, and cocoa smuggling had greatly contributed to the phenomenon, thereby affecting forecast and projections.
“While efforts are being made to reduce the threats of these factors, I wish to indicate that we have, over the past seven years achieved significant success in our productivity-driven and price guard initiatives,” he said.
He said the Board would next month hand over several rehabilitated farms across the cocoa regions to beneficiary farmers.
These well-maintained farms have the potential of increasing our annual cocoa stocks significantly – and this means more money for our farmers and other actors.
The Productivity Enhancement Programmes such as pruning, mass spraying, and pollination, among others will ensure that the farms produce more cocoa, he added.
Mr Akwasi Agyemang, Chief Executive of Ghana Tourism Authority, praised the collaboration with COCOBOD in the past three years in the celebration of the chocolate week to enhance consumption.
The National Planning Committee for the Promotion of Cocoa Consumption in collaboration with GTA and other key stakeholders is focusing on the youth as a potential market for this year’s celebration through tailor-made activities at the Chocolate City.
Programmes lined up for the celebration include a health walk, family day out and variety show at the Chocolate City, time with school children, and a quiz competition, among others.