Agriculture which offers close to 70% of the population in Africa employment opportunities is a proven pathway to Africa’s prosperity. However, the problem of a lack of value addition stifles its growth.
Poor Cocoa processing in Ghana & West Africa
This failure of the West African Sub-region to add value to crops before they are exported is the most complex and burdensome problem the entire agriculture value chain faces.
This problem particularly remains true for one of the region’s most valuable crop, cocoa. West Africa is said to be the world’s largest producer of cocoa, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana producing over 60% of the world’s output. 75% of cocoa, however, is exported as raw beans to Europe and Asia, with only a quarter remaining in the region for processing into cocoa butter, powder, chocolate, and other products. This leaves a greater share for value addition to be undertaken by such foreign companies as Hershey and Mars.
While the majority of our local cocoa farmers remain poor, a company such as Hershey is valued at US$31.64 billion due to one simple factor, value addition. The strength in value addition cannot be oversimplified and underestimated. It generates revenue, creates employment, improves livelihoods, and supports a nation’s overall economic growth.
In an interview with Ghana Talks Business, the founder of Mi-Cocoa (MC), Nana Aduna II explains the importance of value addition in the cocoa industry and the opportunities in the cocoa processing sector in Ghana.
Cocoa Processing in Ghana- By MI-Cocoa
Riding on the back of over 13 years of experience in cocoa farming and realizing the need for value addition, Mi-Cocoa (MC) began to add value to its cocoa by developing a wide array of products. The agribusiness startup also noticed that every single part of the cocoa pod had significant and multiple uses. And began research into the huge untapped opportunity that cocoa value addition had to offer.
The aftermath was a wide range of cocoa products called ‘Adepa,’ an Akan language which means ‘A Good Thing.’ Mi-Cocoa products include:
• Cocoa Nibs (“health superfood products”)
• Cocoa Crunch & other Cocoa Confectionery & Chocolate
• Cocoa Husk Tea
• Cocoa Wine
• Cocoa Cereals & Trail Mixes (under development)
ASETENAPA (Home & Well-Being)
Cocoa Candles, Cocoa Pot Pourri
Cocoa Art pieces & Collectors’ Items
Cocoa Gift Boxes & Hampers
OKUAFOPA (Farm Tours)
Cocoa Eco-Tours & Trail Hikes
Cocoa Scrubs, Face Masks, Serums, Body Butters (under development)
Lucrative Opportunities in Cocoa processing in Ghana
Nana Aduna II, clearly noted that each value chain of the cocoa industry is profitable but remains untapped. He mentioned the value addition opportunities in cocoa, other than manufacturing chocolate. This includes the following:
- Processing skincare products and cosmetics from cocoa bean
- Mechanization of cocoa farmlands since most farmers are still involved in rudimentary practices
- Manufacturing of Cocoa drinks
The chocolate industry is worth US$100 billion. Including other cocoa products such as skincare and cosmetics should give a sense of the true profitability of the industry.
He advised young entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity but “background work must be done properly.” Understand the industry and start to see cocoa beyond the current exposure.
CEO of Decokraft
In another of Ghana Talks Business’ interview with entrepreneurs, Akua Obenewaa Donkor, the CEO of Decorkraft, had this to say about opportunities in cocoa processing in Ghana.
Yes, It is not even with chocolate, let me just talk about the whole cocoa. The whole cocoa is a value chain, and at every point a part of the cocoa is important. Right from the pods that they leave in the farm, the husk that is taken from the cocoa bean to sell, there is so much we can do with cocoa but it still remains an untapped industry in Ghana.
All we do is that we take the bean and we ship it outside the country for it to be used as chocolate and brought back to us. But there is so much we can do. Something like the husk can be used as a tea. The pods, I know some people use it as potash for soap. Even, you can get gin from the fleshy part of the cocoa bean. So, there’s a whole lot to be done, just that it still remains an untapped industry. And it is not just chocolate, cocoa powder can be used for drinks and all that.
Pursuing opportunities in Cocoa processing in Ghana takes a lot more than the technical know-how. Like all other business opportunities, determination, and a can-do spirit is necessary to succeed. Also, Cocoa is a highly regulated sector, and all players must adhere to regulatory requirements to succeed.