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COCOBOD CEO allays Chinese cocoa production fears

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hief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has said there is no cause for the country to be concerned over the emergence of China as a cocoa producing nation.

The Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences recently reported that the Chinese island of Hainan has exported cocoa beans to Belgium. The first batch of 500 kg of cocoa beans worth €3,044 euros (about US$3,600) was produced in Xinglong, a township of Hainan with a tropical climate.

However, the CEO of the regulator of the cocoa industry in the country said, “We don’t have to be worried about that tiny island Hainan, because our geographical conditions give us that comparative advantage. Cocoa cannot thrive in areas where temperatures fall below 18 degrees Celsius.

In Ghana, our temperatures are even and always above 21 degrees Celsius, but that island’s temperatures can go as low as 14 degrees Celsius; and with that temperature, in winter all the leaves or flowers will drop. You don’t see that in Ghana.”

Speaking at the maiden GIPC Cocoa Value Chain Investment Meeting in Accra, Mr. Boahene Aidoo also stated that the country has sufficient cocoa beans for any investor seeking to enter into the Ghanaian market, adding that the country in the medium term is likely to hit 1.5m tonnes of production.

Furthermore, he disclosed that the focus of Cocobod now is to “to do more cocoa processing and promote more consumption of cocoa finished products.”

Cocoa generates approximately US$2bn a year in foreign exchange for Ghana and employs 800,000 farmers directly.

On his part, the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Yofi Grant, said “cocoa has been the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy, but we still labour to find one cocoa billionaire out of a crop that has actually developed the country. For me that re-echoes a certain missing link that we have not monetised it in a very indigenous and domestic way as we should.”

He also urged cocoa processors in the value chain to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms. Grace Jeanet Mason, stated that cocoa has “absolute advantage for Ghana and the region”, which needs to be leveraged through the AfCFTA.

“AfCFTA is at the apex of Africa’s agenda, and with Ghana being the epicentre of trade in West Africa, the country is strategically poised for penetration in other markets.”

Contributing to a panel discussion, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku, the Deputy CEO of Cocobod in charge of operations, said the board’s business-friendly policies and interventions have raised the proportion of cocoa processed locally from 23 percent to over 40 percent.

“With AfCFTA, we project a rise in demand and a much bigger opportunity for current and new investors in the processing and value addition space,” he added.

The Vice President of Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana, Dela Kuekey, urged Cocobod to speed up the regulation that allows the artisanal cocoa processors to procure beans in locations close to their operations.

Source: business24.com.gh

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