Cocoa derivatives contributed $785million to the Ghanaian economy last year.
They include cocoa paste, cocoa cake, cocoa butter and cocoa powder which represented a 10 per cent growth over the 2017 revenue figures of non-traditional exports.
Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industries made the revelation at the opening of the maiden edition of African Cocoa and Chocolate Expo (ACCE) in Accra last Friday.
The three-day event being organised by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) in collaboration with the Know Your Cocoa Foundation (KYCF) sought to create a platform to project Ghana’s cocoa industry and by extension putting the African cocoa sector firmly on the international map.
It was also aimed at creating opportunities for investment and technological advancement throughout the cocoa value chain. It was held on the theme: ‘Celebrating innovation, motivating consumption’.
Shedding light on consumption, innovation and highlighting growth opportunities, the Deputy Minister said the theme was timely looking at the government policy of increased value addition to cocoa beans.
He expressed the ministry’s commitment to work harder so that the benefits of industries were felt throughout the economy and reflect in the people’s pocket.
“I am certain that ultimately some of the products from this expo will help derive the maximum revenues from our major export crop,” he added.
Mr Ahenkorah said the cocoa industry was one of the key industries of the Ghanaian economy which offered employment for both rural and urban dwellers, saying, it is estimated that 800,000 farm households, particularly smallholder farmers, derive at least 60 per cent of their annual income from cocoa alone.
This, he said, could increase cocoa production significantly if entrepreneurs were encouraged to produce more innovative products for sale on both the local and foreign markets.
Madam Afua Asabea Asare, Chief Executive Officer of GEBA in her welcome address, said, it was her expectation that the expo would grow to become a truly African premier and dedicated show for the cocoa value chain.
In the light of it she acknowledged the presence and participation of several foreign guests and participants, particularly from the neighbouring countries which was a positive sign for Ghana.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY