Youth urged to consider cocoa entrepreneurship
Young entrepreneurs and potential ones have been urged to explore the opportunities in artisanal chocolate production and other cocoa-based products such as cosmetics, confectionaries among others.
This is as part of efforts to add value to cocoa which remains a leading export product of Ghana and to also draw more of the youth to the sector.
“Our aim this year is to stir up a new awareness of untapped potential of value-added cocoa and drive a new focus and passion for cocoa.
“We are determined to provide more support to young persons already engaged in the sector to do more. We will also provide them the necessary market facilitation support to see them break into the competitive markets in Africa and beyond,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Dr Afua Asabea Asare, said at the opening of the second edition of the virtual African Cocoa and Chocolate Expo (ACCE21).
The three-day event (September 23-26, 2021) by the GEPA in collaboration with the Know Your Cocoa Foundation (KYCF) was on the theme, “Africa Beyond Beans: Raising a New Generation of Cocoapreneurs for Wealth Creation”.
Dr Asare said the aim was to foster the general knowledge of the different uses of cocoa and to encourage local consumption of cocoa products.
She said that in the context of the implementation of the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS), of which the cocoa value chain is a key priority, the authority was opened to collaborate with interested partners to further open up the cocoa sector to more investments.
Already, she said the authority was working with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and the Ghana Cocoa Board to increase investments, while increasing domestic consumption and patronage of cocoa products.
“We are also in discussions with the International Trade Centre (ITC), our key international partner to implement a new programme in the cocoa sector to boost exports.
“It is indeed the joint vision of the GEPA and the KYCF that the ACCE will grow to become a truly African premier and dedicated show for the cocoa value chain,” she said.
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (crops), Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo, noted that cocoa had done a lot by projecting the country and continued to hold a lot economic prospect.
He emphasised that adding value to the crop was the way to go now.
“To ensure that Ghana continues to play a lead role and to make cocoa production attractive for processing and export, the ministry will continue to provide sound strategic policy direction for cocoa.
“Through the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the government will also continue to support the farmers through improved extension services to increase yields,” he said.
The Deputy CEO of COCOBOD, Mr Emmanuel Opoku, said there was the need to inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship in all value chains of cocoa.
Therefore, as part of strategies to raise ‘cocoapreneurs’, he said COCOBOD implemented its Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) to improve cocoa productivity and to create the enabling environment to attract the next generation.
The activities under the PEPs included pruning, hand pollination and supply of fertilisers and rehabilitation of cocoa farmers across the country. He assured potential young cocoapreneurs of COCOBOD’s technical support to set up.
The virtual edition of the ACCE saw several foreign exhibitors and guests participating. Among the objectives are to showcase and celebrate achievements and innovations in the cocoa industry and to bring together industry all key stakeholders and the public to share knowledge, network and dialogue on cocoa and its value chain.
A series of ‘Bean to Bar and Beyond’ panel discussions, exhibition of innovative cocoa derivatives and knowledge sharing sessions also took place at the sidelines the ACCE.
The Expo climaxes on Sunday, September 26, 2021 with a physical cocoa tour to some cocoa farms located in the Eastern Region.