Ghana announces plans to process half of its cocoa locally
London, Jan. 1, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Ghana has announced plans to start locally processing 50 per cent of all the cocoa it produces as it seeks to tap into the revenues of the lucrative crop while creating more jobs for the locals.
The country which is the second largest producer of cocoa after Côte d’Ivoire, with the crop being the foundation of its GDP, currently produces an average 900,000 metric tonnes of cocoa each season. 80 per cent is however exported raw denying the country foreign earnings according to data from Ghana Cocoa Board, COCOBOD, the institution that fixes the buying price for cocoa.
The latest move is an attempt by the government to bolster value addition in a crop that remains the country’s gold mine but heavily underutilized locally. There are currently some seven major processing companies in the country with an estimated processing capacity of about 500,000 tonnes.
However, only a paltry 200,000 tonnes of these firms’ capacity is currently being utilized which represents 40 per cent of total crop production.
With the crop picking premium prices at the international markets, local processors of the crop have traditionally urged the government to discount the price for them to enable them stock their factories.
“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,” Vincent Okyere Akomeah, Director of Research Monitoring and Evaluation of Ghana Cocoa Board said while addressing the media.
The government has been rolling a series of plans it hopes will fortify the resolve to increase local processing.
It has partnered with China to establish a $60 million factory with a capacity to process 450,000 tonnes every year. Upon completion, the factory will boost the country’s exports, improve value addition and cocoa consumption locally.
It is also working with other institutions to boost bean quality and farming practices among farmers to ensure it achieves the one million tonnes cocoa production it has set for each season.