Cocoa is the chief agricultural export of Ghana and Ghana’s main cash crop. Ghana is the second-largest cocoa exporter in the world.
Ghana’s economy largely depends on agriculture which accounts for nearly 30 percent of GDP and about 60 percent of all employment of which cocoa contributes to about 10 percent of agricultural GDP. Of this immense contribution from the sector to the economy that the Cocoa Post has organized the 2nd maiden Ghana Cocoa Awards Night to honor the true heroes behind Ghana’s economic backbone.
Speaking at the prestigious event, Nana Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim IV, the King of Assin Owirenkyi Traditional Area, and the Chairman for the event welcomed the distinguished guests and called for patronizing and promoting cocoa by consuming a cocoa drink at the government institutions instead of tea and coffee.
Nana Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim IV urged Ghanaians to promote cocoa consumption to serves as an incentive to the pioneers in the cocoa sector. “To be a pioneer is paid for, and when we leave this event we should ensure that this God-giving product is actually promoted by us by ensuring consumption of cocoa products”, Nana said.
“We all know cocoa was born here and raised for the world but brazing this socialization process, are you part of the solution or part of the problem?”, he quizzed. He entreated all to support and form part of the solution to promote the cocoa sector.
Adding to the promotion and consumption of cocoa, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo said Ghana produces cocoa beans but a lot of Ghanaians do not take cocoa products. “When you go for functions, I am sure a lot of you would have taken tea or coffee already, you don’t ask for cocoa. When there are functions, there are tea and coffee breaks but hardly do you see cocoa break”, Hon. Boahen Aidoo echoed.
He explained the nutritional benefits of cocoa beans and the need to engage cocoa in our daily meal, “cocoa is a very important crop that we know very little about, essentially, cocoa has anti-aging properties, thus antioxidants which prevent diabetes, cancer and protect the body from all manner of cardiovascular diseases”.
Hon. Boahen Aidoo assured that the current administration of the Ghana Cocoa Board in few years to come would make it possible for cocoa to be the main food on every Ghanaian child’s table. He counseled both the young individuals and the old to patronize the chocolate that has a high concentration of cocoa for its benefits.
With its financial benefits, Hon. decried of the copious amount of revenue in the industry, yet Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that produce about 60 percent of cocoa beans for the world gain marginal income from it. “When you look at the cocoa value chain is worth more than $100 billion and Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are producing around 60 percent of world cocoa beans, meanwhile, the two countries together earn less than 5 percent out of $100 billion”, he bemoaned.
The actual worth of cocoa is found not in the primary sector of production he said, but at the secondary and tertiary levels of production. He beseeched the sector players and the stakeholders to add value to the cocoa beans to amass the worth that the industry presents.
To harness the cocoa industry for economic resiliency, Mr. Yofi Grant, the CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) said the government has instituted a plan to protect the farmers by implementing certain policies including Cocoa Stabilization Plan Policy, and Free Fertilizer Distribution Policy. These policies are expected to improve the low income of farmers and eventually affect the farmers’ lives more positively than before.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Yofi Grant said Ghana would no longer become a mere producer and exporter of cocoa beans instead, there are policies geared towards the processing of cocoa would be championed. “The government would be engaged in finance and corporative system with a capital outfit as it has begun since cocoa was here, provision of support services to the cocoa sector, cocoa haulage, warehousing and partnership with the existing local processing companies for value addition to our cocoa beans”, he submitted.
According to him, the GIPC mandate is to market the cocoa products such as cocoa shower gel, shea butter, soaps as well as cocoa gin and brandy along the supply chain.
Mr. Kojo Hayford, founder of the Ghana Cocoa Awards thanked the invited guests for honoring the invitation to be part of the special occasion. He mentioned that the awards are basically in recognition of the individual as well as the collective roles played towards the sustenance of the cocoa sector in Ghana over the years.
“The Ghana Cocoa Awards was instituted as against the background that Ghana’s niche as the producer of premium quality cocoa would not have been possible without the critical roles of various stakeholders (like your good selves) play to keep the value chain unbroken”, he voiced.
He expressed his profound gratitude to the stakeholders who worked tirelessly to support the government’s effort amid the pandemic. “We appreciate the difficulties the global community has faced due to the ramifications of this Pandemic. However, amidst the far-reaching effects of COVID-19, you have not let the cocoa sector down. Some of you supported the government’s efforts at containing the disease and we are proud of you. A lot of you donated to support COCOBOD’s efforts at protecting our gallant cocoa farmers from contracting the virus”, he expressed.
The Ghana Cocoa Awards 2020 awarded 42 distinguished stakeholders (comprising 30 competitive and 12 honorary awards) who, regardless of the COVID-19 Pandemic, held the value chain uninterrupted at the Kempinski Hotel, Accra.