Ghana Cocoa Board has inaugurated an 8-member committee to spearhead efforts to boost local consumption of chocolate and cocoa products.
The move falls in line with long-term plans to build local capacity in value addition to target the lucrative export market for quality finished products from cocoa-origin countries.
The world’s second-largest cocoa producer hopes to leverage the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) platform to tap into the continent’s 1.3 billion population market for Africa-made products.
Currently, Ghana ships 80% of its cocoa to the European Union market with the remainder going to the United States of America, Japan and others.
The West African nation is implementing a plan that will see it cut back some 30% of cocoa exports to its traditional markets.
The 5-year market diversification blueprint, sighted by Cocoa Post, targets some emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia with a portfolio of quality and innovative Ghanaian semi-finished and tertiary cocoa products, and other cocoa derivatives.
Ghana is globally acclaimed for its high-quality cocoa exported annually but is curiously missing on the global map of chocolate and confectionery manufacturers, losing out on billions of dollars in additional revenue.
But Cocobod is not oblivious to the status quo and contends charity must begin at home.
Inaugurating the Committee, the Cocobod Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, tasked the team to aim at cultivating a society that values and cherishes the nutritional benefits of Ghana’s cocoa and constantly demands its products.
The National Committee for the Promotion of Cocoa Consumption (NCPCC) is chaired by devout cocoa consumption campaigner, Stephen Fiifi Boafo, who is also Cocobod‘s Deputy Director of Public Affairs.
Other members of the committee are drawn from key divisions within the Ghanaian cocoa regulator as well as the University of Ghana, Ghana Export Promotion Authority and the country’s tourism promotion agency, Ghana Tourism Authority.
The Chairman, Mr Boafo, insisted the Committee is up to the task and assured that the team will work with all processors and chocolatiers to achieve its objective.
The NCPCC is expected to devise strategies and programmes that will drive a sustained local cocoa consumption campaign.
Local cocoa processors and indigenous small-scale value addition enterprises are targeted to take advantage of the NCPCC’s work to promote their brands of quality Made in Ghana chocolates and cocoa products.
Reacting to the development, George Adjei-Bekoe, the President of the Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana (COVAAAGH) has welcomed the inauguration of the committee.
He pledged the group’s support to the NCPCC and assured them of members’ preparedness to work together with the committee to ensure Made in Ghana cocoa products are consumed in every nook and cranny of the nation.
Adjei-Bekoe commended Cocobod and allied agencies for their efforts to waive prohibitive duties and levies on raw materials sourced from the country’s Free Zones cocoa processors.
The COVAAAGH President was upbeat about Cocobod’s revolutionary policy that will grant direct cocoa bean access to indigenous SMEs.
“With this policy, we can buy cocoa beans directly and in smaller quantities which will significantly reduce our cost of production,” explained Adjei-Bekoe, who is also the Managing Director of Gablin Foods.
He added, “the good news for consumers is that when the policy comes on stream our quality and healthy products are now going to be more competitive and affordable, in terms of the shelf price.”