Cocoa is Ghana

The governments of Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire with support from the African Development Bank has held a one-day Cocoa Investors Forum in Accra. The Forum brought together a number of international financial and cocoa processing institutions, notably, China Development Bank, Standard Bank, World Cocoa Foundation, Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) to share ideas on how to mobilize resources to improve upon the fortunes cocoa industry.

Participants at the Forum discussed ways of attracting private investments into the cocoa sectors of both countries. The two countries contribute more than 60 percent of the global cocoa but earn around $5 billion out of an estimated $ 110 billion accrued from the global cocoa market because both countries mostly sell raw cocoa beans to the world market.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the Forum, the Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo, encouraged the Governments of both countries to strategize in a collective effort to control cocoa prices on the world market to enable them reap the full benefits of trading in cocoa. Citing the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as an example, Hon. Osafo Marfo said the collective influence of OPEC members has helped, to a large extent, in regulating the oil industry.

“The two countries should certainly have influence on the cocoa prices globally; we should have the OPEC type in the cocoa industry.” He called for the adoption of a strategy that would control quantities of cocoa for the export market at a time.

“Now we are all talking about improving production. But the flipside is when cocoa production goes up, the price falls, but you need to also improve the production. So it is now up to us to strategize the release of this commodity on the market, we are in the boat together. We either float or sink”, he said.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, delivering the keynote address for the occasion, explained that improvements in the welfare of farmers across both countries would require adherent to good agronomic practices, implementation of productivity enhancement programmes, sustainable domestic and global prices, among others.

He disclosed that Ghana earns about $ 2.5 billion from cocoa annually even though the global market is worth over $100 billion. He stressed the need to increase domestic value-addition to enable Ghana, which is the second largest global producer of cocoa to maximize its gains from world cocoa business.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), Mr. Yofi Grant on his part, stressed the need for both nations to add value to their cocoa to establish dominance in the world market. Mr Yofi further described Ghana as a good investment destination and called on prospective investors to do business in the country.