The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), as part of activities to celebrate its 50th anniversary, has held the maiden edition of the African Cocoa & Chocolate Expo (ACCE) to showcase the diversification in Ghana’s cocoa products as well as serve as an avenue for revenue.
In partnership with the Know Your Cocoa Foundation (KYCF), the expo is also aimed at bringing together industry leaders, emerging businesses and chocolate lovers for knowledge sharing, networking and sampling.
Themed ‘Celebrating Innovation, Motivating Consumption’, the three-day event assembled and showcased innovations and achievements by entrepreneurs and change-makers in the cocoa value-chain of Africa.
In her speech, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA – Madam Afua Asabea Asare, noted that over the past years, cocoa and its derivatives have remained within the top-10 earners in the sector of processed and semi-processed products.
She revealed that in the recently launched 2018 performance report of non-traditional exports, 27.88% of income from Ghana’s top-10 leading owners came from cocoa derivatives. “We believe that the significance of cocoa in our community does not match the prominence it is given, especially when 90% of people link cocoa to chocolate. This Expo will offer an opportunity to showcase various elements of the cocoa crop as a key resource in health, products, liquor, cosmetics, handicrafts and a wide range of confectionery.”
Madam Asaabea Asare added that the Ghana Export Promotion Authority is excited to partner the Know Your Cocoa Foundation of Ghana in bringing this innovative platform that celebrates cocoa not only as a crop, but also its remarkable innovations in a wide range of products from talented manufacturers over the years.
On his part, the Director of Domestic Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Kwame Ntim Donkor who spoke on behalf of the Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Carlos Ahenkorah, noted that the occasion’s theme perfectly reflected the president’s call for increased value-addition to Ghana’s cocoa beans.
“As we seek to project the processing and innovation within the cocoa sector, we will also be creating opportunities for sustainable job creation, increased incomes and growth in export revenues,” he said.
Mr. Ntim Donkor added that the cocoa industry is one of the key industries in the Ghanaian economy, and which offers employment avenues for both rural and urban dwellers.
According to him, it is estimated that about 800,000 farm households – particularly smallholder farmers – derive at least 60% of their annual income from cocoa; and this could increase significantly if entrepreneurs are encouraged to develop more innovative products from cocoa.
On their part, the Ghana Tourism Authority used the opportunity to launch a private-public partnership between itself and Ohene Cocoa Ecotours in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
In a statement, the Ghana Tourism Authority said it believes that if done properly, cocoa eco-tourism will provide additional income for the cocoa farmer, improve the quality of farms, open up a good market for value-added cocoa products, and offer opportunities to market fresh and healthy farm produce.
The statement also noted that very high standards and expectations have been set, and “this fruitful collaboration should become a benchmark for other cocoa-growing districts to learn from. We trust that the launch of this initiative will be embraced fully by our cocoa farmers in partnership with agricultural cooperatives, local government officials and other interest groups”.
About Know Your Cocoa Foundation
Know Your Cocoa Foundation is a Non-Profit Organisation dedicated to supporting activities that promote cocoa value addition across the African continent and Ghana in particular.
A year ago, the Foundation was inspired to organise the maiden African Cocoa and Chocolate Expo.