Ghana still exports about 80 per cent of its raw cocoa beans despite calls for value addition in order for the country to earn more revenue from the commodity.
The Managing Director (MD) of the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), Mr Joe Forson, at a recent conference in Accra said about 20 per cent of the total cocoa output for the 2017/2018 cocoa season was processed domestically.
This means that about 190,000 metric tonnes out of the over 900,000 metric tonnes of cocoa that was produced in the 2017/2018 crop season was distributed to the seven major local processing companies in the country.
This figure still falls short of the government’s target of processing about 50 per cent of the country’s total cocoa output.
The government announced an ambitious plan to increase cocoa production to one million metric tonnes as it improves the local processing of the beans to 50 per cent.
Currently, there are about seven major cocoa processing firms in the country, with an estimated processing capacity of about 500,000 mt, which puts them in a position to meet the government’s 50 per cent processing target.
However, just about 200,000 mt of their capacity is currently being utilised which represents 40 per cent.
Of total annual production, about 20 per cent, comprising mainly the light crop beans, are discounted to the processors while the main crop is exported.
Given that the main crop beans sells at a premium on the international market, processors of the crop have long called on the government to discount the price for them to be able to buy for the factories.
In an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS, the Senior Public Relations Manager of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Mr Noel Amenyah, said in order for the local processing companies to fully explore their full potential, they must have the ability to buy the beans , have adequate power available , and the skills to enable the plants to achieve their maximum capacity.
He stated that those were some of the factors that were limiting the processing factories to operate at full capacity.