COCOBOD is projecting an ambitious target of raking in US$50billion in annual revenues from processing cocoa into other value-added products by the year 2030.
Data from COCOBOD indicate that some progress has been made in value addition to cocoa, with the volume of cocoa value addition moving from 25 percent in 2018 to a current 40 percent and constituting an about-327,000 tonnage of processing.
Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, told the B&FT at the recently held Ghana Cocoa Awards in Accra that the organisation’s priority is to ensure increased cocoa production is matched by an increase in domestic processing – with an objective to reach 50 percent local processing by 2024.
Domestic cocoa processing installed capacity has significantly progressed from 64,500 metric tonnes to a national installed capacity of 544,000 tonnes, indicating underutilisation in some factories.
Indeed, the call for value addition has enabled COCOBOD to support local cocoa processors – Cargill and Barry Callebaut, Olam among others – to expand their processing capacities. Other processors including Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), West African Mills Company Ltd. (WAMCO), Niche Cocoa, Touton, Plot Enterprise, Chocomac and Nutcao have all expanded their capacities to meet expected demands.
Africa produces nearly 75 percent of cocoa, with Ghana and Ivory Coast controlling more than 60 percent of the commodity. Ironically, all five of the continent’s biggest economies – Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria and Morocco – heavily import chocolate from western countries that source their raw cocoa from Africa.
But Mr. Boahen Aidoo reiterated that COCOBOD is focused on moving the narrative from exports of raw beans to exporting value-added cocoa products which will make Ghana a beneficiary of the over-US$100billion global chocolate value chain.
The global chocolate value chain, which is currently estimated at US$130billion, only brings some US$3billion in foreign exchange to Ghana as a result of it exporting the raw beans, according to COCOBOD. “COCOBOD remains determined to facilitate adequate production and reliable supply of cocoa beans, as well as supporting the private sector to push Ghana into becoming the chocolate and confectionery hub of Africa within the next decade,” Mr. Boahen Aidoo indicated.
He also underscored the need to create job opportunities through enhancing the value chain into processing in order to create employment for the teeming African youth.
“We urge processing, manufacturing, packaging, distribution and allied companies to consider the numerous investment opportunities in the cocoa sector, and channel their resources to such areas. We ask brand owners to take advantage of this to promote their brands; COCOBOD is ready to give all necessary support,” he added.
Gov’t ready to support COCOBOD achieve its aim
Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, speaking at the same ceremony noted that despite accomplishing a number of its objectives in the cocoa industry, the government is willing to extend its support to COCOBOD to help attain progress in the cocoa processing sub-sector.
“Having come this far in the areas of farmer welfare protection and cocoa production, among others, this government wants to turn its attention to local cocoa processing, value addition and consumption. The government has already demonstrated that it can achieve what it sets out to accomplish within the cocoa industry.
“It is therefore throwing a challenge to management of COCOBOD to take the industry to its next level by expanding the cocoa processing sub-sector and increasing consumption; both locally and within the sub-region. This has the potential to significantly increase revenue generated from the cocoa industry for the country, and indeed improve a lot of stakeholders including our cherished cocoa farmers. You can count on the support of the government in this regard,” she added.
Eradicating child labour in the cocoa industry
Speaking on the theme ‘Celebrating Ghana’s Historic Cocoa Production Milestone- A golden opportunity for the local value addition Agenda’, she indicated that her outfit is committed to eradicating child labour in the cocoa industry – adding that implementation of the Cocoa Management System (CMS) by the Ghana COCOBOD has further driven her interest to tackle the menace, and calling on all stakeholders to support the initiative.
“As a former Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment who spent a lot of time working on the issue of child labour, I am still committed to seeing its eradication from every facet of this country. From my engagements with stakeholders in the cocoa industry, I am happy to note that the path we created has been enhanced through various anti-child labour programmes and initiatives.
“I was further encouraged when I learnt about the Cocoa Management System (CMS), which is being spearheaded by COCOBOD. It promises to greatly enhance our capacity to track various activities within the cocoa sector, including activities that may be construed as child labour – so that suitable interventions can be immediately deployed to correct any such incidents. I ask you as stakeholders to rally behind the CMS project and make it a success,” she noted
Gov’t support to cocoa industry’s achievements
She said despite the devastating effects of COVID-19, Ghana under the leadership of Nana Akufo-Addo has attained an all-time high annual cocoa production volume of about one million and seventy thousand tonnes (1,070,000 tonnes). This feat was attained through effective implementation of the productivity enhancement programmes aimed at increasing yield from an average of 450 kilogrammes per hectare to 1,000 kilogrammes per hectare, in the medium-term.
She stated that: “The industry has in the past half-decade been confronted with low terminal prices for cocoa on the international market. Unfortunately, the situation has in recent times been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
“Whereas cocoa-producing countries around the world responded by reducing the amount they pay to their farmers, President Akufo-Addo – in spite of mounting international pressure -reinforced his commitment to Ghana’s Cocoa farmers by maintaining the farm gate price in the early period of his first government; and tasked the cocoa regulator to devise a sustainable solution to the challenge.
“Through a historic joint effort by the president and his Ivorian counterpart, we have succeeded in achieving a Living Income Differential of US$400 per tonne of cocoa for our cherished farmers expressed through a major leap in the producer price of cocoa; farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are better-off compared to farmers in the other cocoa-producing countries.”