The Ghana government is considering buying shares in international food companies that process cocoa aimed at maximizing the economic benefits the country gets from the production of the crop.
Ghana is unable to process the cocoa locally, with all the produce being exported outside for the production of confectionaries such as chocolates and drinks.
The chairman of the Board of COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu Agyeman, said apart from increasing the volume of cocoa processed locally, Ghana must secure shares in multinational companies to increase its revenue.
“The market for chocolate and cocoa products is huge but those who control the markets; the big international conglomerates are the ones we should be engaging. Why is it that we produce the cocoa and we do not share what comes out of it eventually,” he wondered.
Ghana currently gets only about 20 percent in the value chain. According to Mr. Owusu Agyeman, the country “should go further and be participants and have shares in either Cadbury, Nestle or Mars all of them. We have to be more imaginative and be able to do that”. This is one of the things that the economic committee of the Ghana- Cote d’Ivoire Technical Cooperation on Cocoa is deliberating on to advice the two governments on the way forward.
Having between them control of about 60% of the global output, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are collaborating to find ways of mitigating the impact of price drop in the crop as well as ways to improve revenue and production of cocoa.
With years of experience working with the Food and Agriculture Organization, Mr. Owusu Agyeman stated the Finance ministry would have to work out the modalities when Ghana decides to go ahead with plans to participate in the international market. He thinks government will be better positioned to lead any such acquisitions on behalf of the farmers and COCOBOD.
“If there should be any acquisition, participation in the value chain to the ultimate product of chocolate or cocoa drink, then I believe it would have to be initiated by the government on behalf of the farmers, on behalf of COCOBOD. The ministry of finance will work out the modalities”, he opined.
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