Push for local processing and consumption of cocoa intensifies

The 2023 National Chocolate Week Celebrations has been launched with a renewed purpose to empower artisanal cocoa processors to take advantage of the new incentives within the consumption campaign to become more competitive to meet market demands.

Launching the celebrations at the Accra Tourist Information Centre, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah acknowledged that the cocoa industry plays a significant role in stabilising the local economy, hence the need to intensify efforts aimed at boosting local production, processing, and consumption.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said, “One of the ways to do this is by guaranteeing light crop for the local processors so that they do not have to buy the main crop for processing.”

He added that the light crop, which is significantly priced lower than the beans from the main crop, would help local processors cut down production costs.

He advised Ghana Cocoa Board and other stakeholder institutions to address the financing challenges of local processors by pushing for policy instruments that incentivize the financial services sector to provide financing, using cocoa beans as security.

He further advised the Ghana Free Zones Authority to intensify education on the various incentives available under the free zone enclave to help attract more local processors to the enclave.

He further emphasised the need to attract more local chocolatiers to join the value chain, in order to encourage domestic consumption.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism and the Creative Arts Industry, Mark Okraku Mantey lauded the active contribution of various stakeholders within the cocoa sector, trade, and tourism industries in turning the Chocolate Day Celebrations into what is now becoming an important week-long tourism event and made a strong case for the continuous promotion of the initiative to attract more domestic and international participation.

Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo represented by his Deputy Chief Executive (Finance and Administration), Ray Emmanuel Ankrah said Ghana Cocoa Board in collaboration with industry stakeholders, is relentlessly pushing for tax incentives and upskilling for artisanal cocoa processors as part of the drive to increase local cocoa processing and consumption in Ghana.

He further disclosed that the new push is to ensure local chocolatiers are well-equipped for the competitive new markets the country seeks to explore under the Africa InterContinental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and beyond.

“I am happy to announce that while we are liaising with various stakeholders to secure tax incentives for local processors, we have also secured a partnership to establish a Chocolate Academy to train and polish up the skills of local artisanal chocolatiers, to enable them to meet the needs of the chocolate market.”

Mr Boahen Aidoo further added that this year’s celebration is a platform for chocolatiers, hoteliers, and caterers to showcase and promote their creative talents to the rest of the country and extended an invitation to them to fully participate in activities to mark the celebration.

Under the theme, Eat Chocolate, Stay Healthy, Grow Ghana! the weeklong celebration of the country’s third largest foreign exchange earner, cocoa starts with activities from the 7th to 14th of February, designed to bring the country together with a shared purpose to increase the country’s per capita consumption of cocoa.

Currently, the per capita consumption stands at 1kg, a rise from 2017’s figure of 0.50kg.

During the celebration, the much-anticipated Chocolate City, a dome set up as the hub of chocolate products at the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout in Accra will be opened to all Ghanaian entrepreneurs within the cocoa sector such as cosmetics, food and confectionery, pharmaceuticals and other products and services to exhibit their craft at no cost to them and the public.

The Chocolate City will be open from 11th to 14th of February 2023.

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