Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Afua Asabea Asare, has expressed commitment of the Authority in promoting local consumption of cocoa in the country.
Speaking at the maiden launch of the Africa Cocoa and Chocolate Expo 2021, she revealed that effective collaboration with key partners such as ‘The Know Your Cocoa Foundation’ has led to the success of the Expo.
Asabea Asare explained that the drive for GEPA is to rope in the youth, particularly young women, into the sector. This, she noted, is as a result of the sharp growth in the number of “young entrepreneurs” venturing into chocolate production.
By sheer innovation, Asabea Asare indicated that some artisanal and cocoa-based products by the women include cosmetics, confectionary.
“This theme continues and builds on our maiden theme. Our goal is to foster the general knowledge of the different uses of cocoa products and to encourage local consumption. Above all, we also want to draw the younger generation into the sector.
“What is even more satisfying is the significant number of young women that are entering the space. GEPA is determined to provide more support to these young people to do more. We will also provide them the necessary market facilitation support to see them break into the competitive markets in Africa and beyond”.Afua Asabea Asare
Cocoa, a vital commodity in Ghana
As part of GEPA’s effort in ensuring value addition in the sector, the GEPA boss emphasised the need for local partnerships with GEPA. Asabea Asare further opened up to collaborations with interested partners to further “open up the cocoa sector to more investments”.
Touching on the impact of the cocoa sector on the country’s economy, she recounted the revenue growth enjoyed by Ghana.
“Cocoa is the leading export product of Ghana and has sustained the economy for more than 100 years. Sadly, we have not done enough as a country to add value to this valuable crop; which is proudly referred to in the past the food of the gods. We also know the passion with which His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has on several occasion drawn our attention to the need to add more value to our cocoa to increase export revenue. I’m happy to report that the maiden edition of the ACCE has largely achieved its primary objective.
“We have once again carefully chosen the theme again for this second edition of the ACCE 2021, ‘African Beyond Beans: Raising a new generation of cocoapreneurs for wealth creation”.Afua Asabea Asare
Investment opportunities in cocoa
On his part, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Yofi Grant, highlighted on the various investment opportunities at the disposal of the country. He urged stakeholders and entrepreneurs already in the business to add value to the cocoa crop. Mr Grant revealed that even cocoa rejects are a source for fuel generation.
“I think it’s only right that now, we recognize that perhaps it will better serve us if we add value to the crop. And definitely there is a lot of merit in that thinking. Because between Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, who probably do about 67% of the cocoa… but by 2024 the chocolate industry is expected to yield about $161 billion; currently it’s around $140 billion. That’s just chocolates; not to mention the liquor, the butter and all the other derivatives. So, the crop itself has myriad benefits.
“For us at the GIPC, we believe that the cocoa crop itself… gives enough reason to attract investors and to add value in many ways”.Mr Yofi Grant
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has commended GEPA for promoting the value addition agenda in the cocoa sector.
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