The 2023 National Chocolate Week Celebrations has been launched with a renewed purpose to empower artisanal cocoa processors to take advantage of the new incentives within the consumption campaign to become more competitive to meet market demands.
Launching the celebrations at the Accra Tourist Information Centre, the Minister of Information, Hon Kojo Oppong Nkrumah acknowledged that the cocoa industry plays a significant role in stabilizing the local economy, hence the need to intensify efforts aimed at boosting local production, processing, and consumption.
Hon Oppong Nkrumah said, “One of the ways to do this is by guaranteeing light crop for the local processors so that they do not have to buy the main crop for processing.” He added that the light crop, which is significantly priced lower than the beans from the main crop, would help local processors cut down production costs.
He advised Ghana Cocoa Board and other stakeholder institutions to address the financing challenges of local processors by pushing for policy instruments that incentivize the financial services sector to provide financing, using cocoa beans as security.
He further advised the Ghana Free Zones Authority to intensify education on the various incentives available under the free zone enclave to help attract more local processors to the enclave.
He further emphasized the need to attract more local chocolatiers to join the value chain, in order to encourage domestic consumption.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism and the Creative Arts Industry, Mr Mark Okraku Mantey lauded the active contribution of various stakeholders within the cocoa sector, trade, and tourism industries in turning the Chocolate Day Celebrations into what is now becoming an important week-long tourism event and made a strong case for the continuous promotion of the initiative to attract more domestic and international participation.
Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo represented by his Deputy Chief Executive (Finance and Administration), Mr. Ray Emmanuel Ankrah said Ghana Cocoa Board in collaboration with industry stakeholders, is relentlessly pushing for tax incentives and upskilling for artisanal cocoa processors as part of the drive to increase local cocoa processing and consumption in Ghana.