The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) says it is ready to further support young entrepreneurs who are embarking on the artisanal production of chocolate and other cocoa products.
Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, Managing Director of GEPA, said the Authority will also provide the necessary market facilitation support to see entrepreneurs break into competitive markets in Africa and beyond.
Dr Asare was speaking at the virtual opening of the 2nd edition of the African Cocoa & Chocolate Expo (ACCE21) in Accra.
The theme of the event was: “Africa Beyond Beans: Raising a New Generation of Cacaopreneurs for Wealth Creation”.
The event aimed to draw the attention of the Ghanaian public to the need to increase the consumption of cocoa products.
Dr Asare said GEPA was also keen to attract more young generations to the sector, adding that there had recently been a sharp increase in the number of young entrepreneurs who were venturing into the artisanal production of chocolate and other products. cocoa based.
She said it was even more satisfying to see a significant number of young women entering this space.
“All these efforts are being pursued within the framework of the implementation of the National Export Development Strategy, of which the cocoa value chain is the key priority,” she added.
She said GEPA was open to working with interested partners to further open up the cocoa sector to more investment.
The CEO said that the joint vision of GEPA and the Know Your Cocoa Foundation was for ACCE to become a truly African and dedicated cocoa value chain fair, which would be able to compete with all other exhibitions in its category in the world.
She said that “we all know that cocoa is Ghana’s main export commodity and has supported the economy for over a hundred years”.
“Sadly, we haven’t done enough as a country to add value to this precious harvest which in the past is proudly called ‘the food of the gods’,” she said.
She commended Nana Aduna II for her courage and singular dedication to promoting the cocoa value chain and her passion for driving the cocoa value chain program.
She said their aim was to promote general knowledge of the different uses of cocoa and encourage local consumption of cocoa products.
“GEPA is ready to provide all necessary facilitation to Ghanaian exporters and those interested in entering into export trade with the maximum support possible,” she said.
Mr. Hebert Krapa, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, congratulated GEPA and the Foundation for their continued partnership and determination to promote the government’s industrialization program with particular emphasis on the cocoa sector.
He said that the Ghana Cocoa Research Institute (CRIG) had undertaken important research on value addition in the cocoa sector over the past decades and that he needed all the support to maximize the benefits. advantages of the sector.
The minister said that thanks to the very good work the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is doing in the cocoa sector through the Cocoa Board, cocoa production has reached the million metric ton mark this cocoa season. .
He said: “We must collectively redouble our efforts to accelerate the pace of added value that the President has emphasized in the past five years of the NPP government.”
He said the pandemic cannot and should not limit the ability to innovate, even as public sector agencies and with the help of technology, “I know ACCE21 has an even wider reach. and global “.
Mr Krapa said it made a lot of sense for companies to harness the benefits of digital technology and that GEPA was using this new means of export promotion and encouraging them to do more.
He said the fact that Ghana is home to the free trade area secretariat puts the country in pole position for maximum benefit.
He challenged the next generation of cocoa entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunity created by ACCE21 to start integrating into the cocoa processing sector.
The Minister urged GEPA to support the event and make it an annual Ghanaian event on the international calendar for cocoa and chocolate lovers.
“GEPA can count on the support of my ministry in this endeavor,” he added.
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