ACCRA– Chinese investors have begun discussions with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to construct a high-capacity cocoa processing factory in the Western Region.

COCOBOD’s Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, enumerating some investment opportunities in the country’s cocoa industry in Accra said: We are optimistic that more companies will get on board to support government and COCOBOD achieve the target of ensuring that at least 50 percent of cocoa produced in Ghana is processed to tertiary level to boost local consumption.

It is the policy of COCOBOD and government to process more than 50% of cocoa produced in Ghana. Government and COCOBOD further desire to deepen processing of cocoa into finished products for local, regional and international consumption.

The West Africa market, with an estimated population of about 350million, provides adequate opportunity for investors to target the sub-regional market and sweet-toothed countries in Asia.

China, Aidoo noted, offers a big market for cocoa confectioneries and related products, and we are collaborating with them in this regard

Aidoo indicated that there are numerous investment opportunities in the cocoa sector, and that investors will have to seek independent appraisal of viability for specific areas of interest as well as understand the laws, bye-laws and regulations governing the cocoa sector of Ghana.

He said there are a lot of small and medium businesses that have taken advantage of the rich opportunities in the sector to create jobs and boost economic growth.

Investment opportunities in the cocoa industry

On Commercial Cocoa Farming, Aidoo explained that cocoa is cultivated in six out of the 10 regions of the country.

However, the average size of cocoa farms in the country is about four hectares � mostly owned by smallholder farmers. Opportunity exists for potential investors to establish modern commercial cocoa plantations.

The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana � CRIG, a division of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Aidoo indicated is available to provide the necessary advisory services on suitability of soils and general cocoa agronomy to potential investors. And improved high-yielding cocoa varieties which start bearing 2-3 years after planting will be supplied to investors by the Seed Production Division of Ghana Cocoa Board for the establishment of cocoa plantations.

He stated that government is in partnership with the COCOBOD to deepen private sector participation in the supply and distribution of farm inputs and marketing logistics. The private sector participates in the procurement and distribution of approved agro-chemicals, including fertiliser and other farming implements.