Last week President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that Switzerland has agreed to assist Ghana to increase its cocoa production and as well add value to its raw cocoa beans locally.
That announcement was made when the President of Switzerland, Ms. Doris Leuthard, called on President Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House—the seat of government—in Accra on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.
And in demonstrating commitments from both sides, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to that effect was signed between the two countries.
That was not all; both countries further agreed to increase their volume of trade in areas including gold and cocoa from Ghana and chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other products from Switzerland.
In the opinion of Today, this is a big boost, especially for our cocoa sector. With the many opportunities that would spring up from value addition to our raw materials, the backward integration businesses that are likely to spring up would all contribute to creating wealth for our locals and winning the war on poverty.
There have been countless arguments over the years that the country should not be in a rush to export key raw materials such as minerals, cocoa and timber and that governments should take critical look at setting up industries that would add value to our raw materials.
By doing so, we would be creating jobs down the chain, for our people. In addition, our farmers would also stand to benefit from a ready and accessible market for their produce and therefore, the encouragement to grow more.
Switzerland, we all are aware, is the world’s largest producer of chocolates even though they do not grow cocoa in the country. For their President to promise that they would help Ghana to add value to its cocoa means that we do not only stand the chance to become a major world producer of chocolates and other cocoa products but also the best for the export market.
Already, Ghana’s Golden Tree Chocolate has been attested by chocolate lovers around the world as one of the best chocolates in the world. It has a large concentration of pure unadulterated cocoa.
THE signing of the MOU therefore gives hope to the cocoa industry
History tells us that the industrial revolution in the West was powered by the raw materials they took from colonies in Africa and Asia. With these raw materials, the industrial revolution caught up, economies in the West boomed, jobs were created for their people, and they sent back the excesses of the value-added products back to the developing world to sell to us.
The time then has come for us to seize every opportunity to grow not only our cocoa industry but many others by adding value locally instead of exporting our raw materials for less. We definitely must make good use of this offer from the Swiss government as it will go a long way to shore up our economy.
Indeed, Today is delighted to hear the current administration assert that it will ensure that our cocoa beans are not exported in their raw state but processed to give us the needed mileage.
Furthermore, it is equally refreshing to hear the President add that value will be added to all our raw material resources.
This, we believe, will not only enhance agricultural productivity, but also help us to grow our economy and make our people prosperous.