General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU), Mr Solomon Kotei is proposing a robust strategy by government and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to find newer markets for Ghana’s cocoa across the world, especially in Asia.
In an exclusive interview with Business Finder, Mr Kotei indicated that ICU’s vision for the Cocoa sector was to explore avenues for higher patronage of cocoa and its varied products in the biggest continent in the world.
“Some study should be done, for instance in India and some countries in Asia to find out their tastes and preferences for cocoa and cocoa products; the results of such research could serve to trigger huge investments in the production and increased diversification of our cocoa”, he said.
According to the ICU Boss, “Asians do not eat a lot of cocoa, however, some Indians have begun eating chocolate so there is a golden opportunity to exploit that market.”
Mr Kotei said for the next decade, the ICU would want to see the cocoa industry, pharmaceutical companies and other cosmetology enterprises take advantage of extracts from cocoa to create more employment and boost sales in the cocoa sector locally.
Support for cocoa sector critical
The ICU Boss rallied increased support for the cocoa sector, noting “cocoa incentives should be extended to farmers since without the incentives cocoa farmers would face stiff competition.” He urged key public sectors to support and encourage cocoa farmers to hit the international market.
Increased focus on value addition4
Cocoa continues to be the largest agricultural export commodity in Ghana. Due to its significance of boosting the country’s economy.
(ICU) has called on the industry’s regulator COCOBOD, to add value to cocoa produce before exporting to generate more foreign exchange earnings. In an interview with Business Finder, the General Secretary of the ICU, Mr Solomon Kotei urged the cocoa sector to export not only the raw cocoa beans but to produced products like cocoa cake, cocoa soap and cocoa butter.
He indicated that even though the country manufactured some of these products, it was not significant in terms of the volumes produced because Ghana was the second-highest cocoa production company in the world. “We should get to a point where we will be the driver of all companies manufacturing cocoa liquor, pomade, etc. We need to scale up to get to the position where we can now export to meet the international market,” he stressed.
Mr Kotei noted that to add value to Ghana’s cocoa, there was a need to have a strong marketing structure in place to increase the value of cocoa in Ghana. He said cocoa producers and exporters must look for ways to find a breakthrough in the Asian market.
About the cocoa industry
In 2017/2018, Africa’s cocoa bean production amounted to around 3.5 million tons. On a country level, the top two producers of cocoa beans are Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, with Côte d'Ivoire producing more than twice the volume of cocoa beans of Ghana.
Ghana’s cocoa industry has been a job creation industry. At the moment, the industry’s regulator, COCOBOD has employed over 16000 regular workers. In June 2015, cocoa output in Ghana, exceeded seasonal targets due to “good” weather and an increase in plantings.
Since the cocoa industry was developed across various policy epochs, its history provided useful insights into the impacts of different policies and relations between markets, states and farmers.
Source: The Finder
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