THE government of Ghana and its partners are putting in place measures to increase domestic processing of cocoa beans up to 50 percent of total annual yield, an official disclosed on Friday.
Vincent Okyere Akomeah, Director of Research Monitoring and Evaluation of the industry regulator, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), told the media on the sides of the plenary session of the Ghana Cocoa Platform that there was the need to ensure that this target was met in response to global pricing volatilities.
‘Now, we have brought on board promotion of domestic consumption and processing because the president and government have made it a policy that Ghana must process at least 50 percent of our cocoa,’ he said.
Ghana processes about 250,000 tonnes of cocoa or about 25 percent of total annual output, and Akomeah stressed the need to take serious steps towards achieving the 50-percent processing, hence the creation of a technical working group to look at processing.
As part of measures to sustain cocoa production and reap its full benefits, Akomeah said the Cocoa Platform had also created a technical working committee to promote local cocoa consumption.
Richard Scobey, President of World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), described cocoa as ‘the jewel of Ghana,’ and the most important source of income and livelihood for smallholder farmers and the generator of critical export earnings for the government.
Although cocoa is the foundation of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), Scobey observed that the sector was faced with sustainability challenges, and farmers were not making sufficient profit, driving many younger people out of the sector.
‘So, for example, the CEO of Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, recently travelled to China to promote Ghana’s quality cocoa in that market and that is a huge opportunity to increase the demand,’ Scobey pointed out.
The WCF president also urged Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to collaborate to deal with the issues of production and supply.