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Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen has inaugurated a $30 million cocoa processing factory at the Spintex Road in Accra.

The factory, which is expected to process 15,000 tonnes of cocoa beans annually is one of the projects earmarked under the government flagship programme, “One-District, One Factory”.

The Afrotropic Processing Company Limited (ACPL) will produce quality products that could be used for chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa liquor and cocoa butter.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Trade Minister said the opening of the factory is part of government’s agenda to ensure that 50 per cent of raw materials are processed locally.

He noted that the government is focused on the implementation of key economic reform programmes and policies to ensure that local industries were built to withstand the dynamic nature and volatilities of the global business environment.

The Trade Minister was enthused about the recapitalisation of Afrotropic because of the fact that cocoa which continues to be the backbone of the economy had less than 400,000 tonnes of the raw beans being processed for value addition in the country.

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He was very happy the factory would create employment of more than 350 direct and indirect jobs for the people across the country.

As part of efforts to attract foreign direct investments, Alan Kyerematen revealed that “government worked hard to reduce the debt stock to the GDP ratio from 73 percent to 57 percent between 2017 and 2019.”

Alan Kyerematen asked the cocoa processing factory to take advantage of the free export markets Ghana enjoyed with both America and Europe while making preparation to also take advantage of the upcoming Africa Single Market under the Continental Free Trade Zone, an African initiative for free trade in the middle of the year.

On his part, Chief Executive Officer of the Nutkao Group, Andrea Guidi said the group’s strategic plan was to continually develop Afrotropics as the main supplier of cocoa raw materials to the group, adding that with the support of the government and its various agencies, Afrotropics would be able to grow and expand in the coming years.

He said the Nutkao group currently distributes its products to more than 60 countries, half of which were outside the European Union, adding that the group also played a significant role in their home country Italy for semi-finished products for the confectionery industry.