Recognising the untapped potential of Ghana’s Chocolate industry, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Afua Asabea Asare, has said that her firm has taken good steps to enrich the chocolate industry.
In view of this, GEPA has collaborated with organisers of the prestigious Wines of South Africa in its RoadShow Tasting events to promote Ghana’s growing chocolate industry.
Speaking about the collaboration’s impact, Ms Asare said: “We want to grow the chocolate industry. We’ve been working with the Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana (COVAAAGh). Some of them are very, very small cottage industries, and we thought that another way of growing this industry is bundling it up with what South Africa has – especially looking at the vision we have for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). We thought that we should be trading among ourselves”.
On the side of GEPA, the collaboration is strategic because it creates a good platform to promote premium chocolates which compare very well with chocolates from traditional chocolate-producing countries in the West.
To maximise these efforts, GEPA is also preparing the participation of the industry in the main event in South Africa later in the year as well as participate in the 2022 Salon du Chocolat Fair in Paris.
According to GEPA, Ghana’s cocoa is widely accepted as a very premium product in the global cocoa value chain industry, supplying roughly a quarter of the world’s cocoa beans – a critical input in the nearly-US$140billion global chocolate industry.
Out of those billions of dollars, Ghana gets little from chocolate because of low capacity to process the cocoa into chocolate and other higher-value cocoa products.
To ensure success for the industry, GEPA is earnestly working with domestic chocolate-making and exporting companies. In 2021, GEPA organised and supported the industry to participate in Salon du Chocolat in Paris as well as a trade and investment fair to further promote the chocolate industry to investors.
As the national trade organisation responsible for the development and promotion of Ghana’s exports, GEPA has identified chocolate and the entire cocoa processing value chain as one of the priority products in the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS).
The key objective is to transform Ghana’s traditional raw commodities-based economy into a competitive export-led industrialised economy with a robust manufacturing base.
GEPA is working to strengthen the artisanal sector – which is fast-growing with over 30 companies producing innovative brands and tastes, the majority of whom are members of the newly-formed association COVAAAGh – and position it to scale-up production and marketing.
A local chocolate producer, George Adjei-Bekoe of Gablin Group, commended GEPA for the enormous support and opportunities given the industry to help produce more chocolate and as well market it on the international market.
“GEPA is doing well, they are pushing us. We have been to France with them, and from here they will take us to South Africa, all trying to push the Ghana chocolate industry to the world. So, it has a very good impact on us,” he noted.