Government is creating a more congenial environment to attract more investors into the processing of cocoa beans into refined products, vice-president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said.
Speaking at the launch of Cocoa Week Celebration by COCOBOD in partnership with Asaase Radio in Accra, Dr Bawumia who was represented by Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, information minister-designate, said government is stepping up collaboration with financial firms to support companies in the sector.
“Already government is offering support by working with some of the financial institutions to ensure that some of the processing companies get their required volume of beans to deliver the value-added products that they require and government intends to do more,” Dr Bawumia stated.
He added: “Let me on this note place a call to all potential investors who are interested in the cocoa industry to freely come forward and receive the necessary support from government to establish, to produce and to sell to the Ghanaian, West Africa and the African markets.”
He said this has become crucial with the wide market created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“With the current population of West Africa estimated about 400 million, there is adequate opportunity for investors to target the Ghanaian, regional and continental market for finished cocoa product on the back of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.”
According to him, government is on course to achieving its target of increasing the processing of raw cocoa beans from the current 40 to 50 percent.
“Ghana has an ambitious target of raising local consumption of cocoa and cocoa products and even processing a lot more of our own cocoa. We have moved that doubt from 25% to about 40% of our beans being processed locally currently, and the target is to hit a minimum of 50% in the shortest possible time,” he said.
“With the numerous health and nutritional benefit of cocoa consumption, as well as, its associated socio economic benefits, the Akufo-Addo administration has made it a priority to massively promote local processing and consumption of cocoa product of which chocolate is part,” Dr Bawumia stressed.
He is hopeful the activities outlined to mark this year’s celebration will help boost the local consumption of cocoa.
Stay tuned to Asaase Radio throughout the month of February as we bring you reports, documentaries and insightful interviews on personalities and developments in the cocoa sector as part of our month-long celebration of chocolate: the Cocoa Affair.
Credit : Asaaseradio