Ghana’s cocoa sector set new record for domestic processing, as total volume of cocoa processed reached 300,000 tonnes during the 2017/18 season.
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), which released a statement, said the 2017-2018 figure represents a 19 percent growth over 252,000 tonnes recorded during the 2016/17 season.
The growth, according to COCOBOD, was driven by increased utilization of existing capacities of all factories, with indigenous companies Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) and Niche Cocoa Ltd posting astronomical growth rates of 121 percent and 39 percent respectively.
It described BD Associates, a subsidiary of BD United Kingdom, which recorded 78 percent growth after it expanded its plant capacity from 12,000 tonnes per annum to 30,000 tonnes, as another top performer.
According to COCOBOD, the three factories cumulatively contributed 32,360 tonnes (71%) out of the total volume increase of 45,525 tonnes over 2016/17.
It said “this significant achievement is a giant step towards government’s medium term target of processing 50% (450,000 tonnes) of Ghana’s annual cocoa production estimated at around 900,000 tonnes.”
It stated that “currently Ghana boasts of an installed cocoa processing capacity of over 450,000 tonnes but faces some capacity underutilization by indigenous companies.
All top three cocoa processors in the world, namely Barry Callebaut, Cargill and Olam, are operating at full capacity in Ghana.
Other international companies operating in Ghana include Touton Cocoa and BD Associate Ltd.
On the indigenous front, CPC, producers of Golden Tree Chocolate, Niche Cocoa, manufacturers of Niche Chocolate and Plot Enterprise, West African Mills Company (WAMCO) and Afrotropic Ltd are operating in the country.
“COCOBOD is aggressively pursuing efforts to increase capacity utilization by indigenous factories to reach the ambitious target of over 450,000 tonnes per annum in the next five years,” according to the release.
It disclosed that “these efforts include securing funding from the African Development Bank to increase the liquidity of these indigenous companies.”
“Recently, COCOBOD signed an agreement with China National Complete Engineering Corporation (CCEC) as part of measures to expand cocoa processing capacity, as well as tap into the huge potentials of the Chinese market.
It said “works are ongoing on the construction of a 40,000 tonnes capacity cocoa processing plant in the Western North region of Ghana under a joint partnership with a Chinese company.”
“The overall goal of COCOBOD is to drive the consumption of chocolate and cocoa products, especially powder across Ghana, as well as the West African sub-region, including NIGERIA and Côte d’Ivoire.”
“Plans are far advanced to introduce free cocoa drinks under government’s flagship School Feeding Programme for basic school students as well as a new project to provide chocolate drinks to over 1 million Senior High School students across Ghana.”