Dr Emmanuel Opoku
THE GHANA Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is considering a draft regulation and guidelines for artisanal chocolate manufacturers.
This is aimed at creating an enabling environment for local investment in cocoa value addition.
Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Emmanuel Opoku, who made this known, said the regulation and guidelines were necessitated by the demands of indigenous artisanal chocolate manufacturers to go into cocoa bar processing.
“They face some constraints in accessing cocoa beans since by law, they cannot buy directly from coca farmers,” he said.
The deputy CEO was speaking at the opening of the second edition of the African Cocoa and Chocolate Expo organised by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the Know Your Cocoa Foundation (KYCF).
The theme for the 4-day event was “Africa Beyond Beans – Raising A new Generation of Cocoa-preneurs for Wealth Creation.”
The cocoa sector, he said, had the potential of providing enormous opportunities for the youth.
That, he indicated, was reflected in the recent cocoa productivity enhancement programme, an initiative of Government which has created jobs for over 10,000 youths as pollinators whose services helped to produce high yields for the crop season.
He, therefore, implored the youth to venture into cocoa cultivation.
“I will urge our young graduates looking for employment opportunities in the private sector to create their own employment by going into cocoa farming.”
CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant, expressed the readiness of his outfit to support local investors who were willing to invest in value addition of cocoa.
He opined that the country stood to economically benefit more from the crop which had been the mainstay of the economy if more attention was paid to the marketing of the commodity.
The derivatives from the crop and its health benefits, when well marketed, he said, could attract more investments and generate revenue for the country.
“We believe that the cocoa crop itself from the tree to the bean gives enough reason to attract investors to add value in many ways,” he said.
CEO of GEPA, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, observed that there had been an increase in the number of young entrepreneurs who were venturing into artisanal chocolate production and various other cocoa-based products.
The development, she indicated, was a positive signal to the future of cocoa production in the country adding that, “What is even more satisfying is the significant number of young women that are entering this space.”
GEPA, she said, was set to roll out initiatives in collaboration with other state agencies to among other things, open up the cocoa sector to more investments.
By Issah Mohammed