HomeFeatureIndulging our palate, keeping cocoa farmers busy

Indulging our palate, keeping cocoa farmers busy

We don’t eat enough cocoa products in Ghana. Our cocoa, considered to be among the finest in the world, with its bigger size beans and higher butter yield, is known for their quality and depth of flavour.

Our crop beans, according to the International Cocoa Organisation, have become the world’s standard against which all cocoa is measured. But, like many of Africa’s commodity-producing countries, less than 25 percent of Ghana’s cocoa beans are locally processed allowing the country to capture only 5 percent of the estimated $28 billion of the global intermediate products market, and only an insignificant share of the global final consumer market of $87billion. The new paradigm wants things to change, and with new perspectives and efforts, steps are being taken to get indigenes to consume more of the crop to increase its value. February is our national chocolate awareness month, and a time to honour those whose hands work to bring us products based on cocoa, our No.1 ’empowering’ crop, says PaJohn Bentsifi Dadson.

Come February 21, the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel will host ‘The Chocolatarium’, a business innovation collaborative effort by a consortium made up of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Exim Bank and Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana (COVAAGH).

Seeking to examine the business of chocolate, looking at the value chain of cocoa, the raw material used for chocolate, ‘The Chocolatarium’ will put the spotlight on Ghana’s cocoa cultivation and value addition.

As the chief agricultural export and main cash crop, making the country the second-largest exporter of the crop in the world, after Ivory Coast, Ghana’s cocoa is noted within the developing world to be one of the most modelled commodities and valuables.

Globally, manufacturers want cocoa beans that are of the quality and depth of flavour of Ghana’s beans, and for this reason, buyers are ready to pay premium for them.

With a lineup of several activities, the ‘National Chocolate Week’ highlights the health benefits of chocolate and other cocoa-based products, as well as the economic potential of the cocoa value chain while promoting domestic tourism with the encouragement to visit cocoa farms.

Starting as National Chocolate Day (on Valentine’s Day) in 2005, this year’s edition, the 17th in the series saw the opening of ‘Chocolate City’, a dedicated cocoa fairground in Accra at the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout and Kumasi Jubilee Park.

Ghana’s export revenue from cocoa has been rising in recent years. In 2018, the total export value was $3.2 billion, a 34% increase from 2017 and up 71% from 2016, according to TradeMap data. Trade is highly concentrated, with Malaysia and the Netherlands accounting for just over half the market.

Among the cocoa processing factories in the country are top global cocoa processors Barry Callebaut, Cargill, and Olam, who have fair trade arrangements with many local farmers.

Two locally-owned factories, the state-dominated Cocoa Processing Company (Golden Tree brand) and Niche Cocoa, make chocolate for the domestic consumer market. There are several others, small-scale artisan chocolate makers, who also produce handmade delights, including 57 Chocolate, Midunu Chocolates, and Omama Royal. The rest are Bioko Chocolates, Decorkraft, 57 Chocolates, and Moments. All of these products are excellent, beautifully packaged, delicious, and locally produced!


And all these local manufacturers benefit from this rigorous monitoring regime as all farmers have become quality control experts from practice. As a result, all those producing chocolates currently being produced and sold in Ghana have half their jobs already cut out. They get good quality beans.

Taking on the mantle to produce chocolates that compete favourably on the global scene is so promising. Selassie Atadika of Midunu, caterers, and curators of new African cuisine, for instance, brings about new innovations, using cocoa.

And all these local manufacturers benefit from this rigorous monitoring regime as all farmers have become quality control experts from practice. As a result, all those producing chocolates currently being produced and sold in Ghana have half their jobs already cut out. They get good quality beans.

Taking on the mantle to produce chocolate that competes favourably on the global scene is so promising. Selassie Atadika of Midunu, caterers, and curators of new African cuisine, for instance, brings about new innovations, using cocoa.

“When I started Midunu, I wanted to give people a chance to experience the flavor of the African continent which I had the amazing opportunity to taste first hand,”

Cocoa came to the rescue as things began to flounder when the pandemic hit. “I wanted to find a way to bring that experience (of African tastes) to people’s doorstep. The result? Our chocolate tasting kit! For the foodies out there, we got some amazing flavors to experience. And for the lovers, something to kick off the evening with a sensory experience!”

The new paradigm is to increase the local palates that consume the crop. Only when local consumption is consistently increased, and the surplus then exported can we begin to command cocoa’s true value.

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