COCOBOD to promote cocoa products in China
The government has intensified its efforts at exploring the possibility of making China a major consumer of cocoa products from Ghana.
In the first quarter of 2017, trade volumes between Ghana and China reached nearly US$1.4 billion.
But the Ghanaian government is seeking to build a new trade link with China through cocoa, as China's increasing urban population will drive chocolate consumption.
Market analysts have projected that chocolate sales in China could grow to $4.3 billion by 2019, up by nearly 60 per cent from $2.7 billion in 2014, driven by demand from the growing urban population.
The increase reflects the chocolate industry's continued bet on growing emerging market consumption, in spite of recent indications of slowing demand in fast-growing Asian markets.
Speaking to the Chinese media after a meeting with the Managing Director of Genertec, Mr Junfu King, the Chief Executive (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, courted the Asian country to take advantage of the huge business gap in the cocoa value chain, largely dominated by America and Europe.
Genertec is the biggest supplier of cocoa to China, with all its cocoa coming from Ghana.
Cocoa as substitute for sugar
Mr Aidoo underscored the need for people who had problems with the consumption of sugar to use cocoa as a substitute."I know the middle class in China are concerned about their health and are ready to spend on products that will boost their health. When a child takes chocolate with high concentration of cocoa, it makes the child more intelligent. Cocoa makes women glow and look younger, while it makes men stronger, and when the elderly takes it, it helps fight diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, we must encourage them to take cocoa," Mr Aidoo said.
He invited Chinese investors to Ghana to look for the possibility of establishing cocoa processing factories, in line with the drive by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to process at least 50 per cent of cocoa in Ghana.
He said Ghana was ever ready to meet the demand from China and gave an assurance that cocoa beans from Ghana were the benchmark for quality cocoa.
Mr Aidoo said the government was projecting an increase in the production of cocoa in the coming season following the introduction of modern technologies, including the mechanisation of cocoa farming, the introduction of irrigation to improve farm yield, pruning and hand pollination, to farmers.
Mr King, for his part, expressed the readiness of Genertec to partner the COCOBOD to promote the consumption of chocolate among the middle class in China.
He said the company was willing to reverse the trend of chocolate from Europe and the Americas dominating the Chinese market.
“It's a shame that the Chinese chocolate market has been dominated by European and American companies, a trend that ought to change,” Mr King said.
The Ghanaian team will meet Chinese financial institutions and investors today.
The visit was arranged by Genertec, which has been buying cocoa from Ghana.
There will also be an exhibition by COCOBOD.
The team met with Chinalight, the mother company of Genertec, and its President, Mr Pan Wan, who was amazed by the cocoa story as told by the COCOBOD Chief Executive.
He said the market in China was big but it had not been explored, adding that “this ‘eye opener’ is only a time to launch a massive campaign”.