Chinese market offers hope for Ghana’s cocoa exports

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A Ghanaian farmer harvests cocoa fruits at a plantation in the Eastern region of Ghana on November 15, 2021 (Photo: Xinhua)


A Ghanaian farmer dries cocoa beans in the sun at a plantation in the Eastern Region of Ghana on November 15, 2021 (Photo: Xinhua)

A Ghanaian farmer dries cocoa beans in the sun at a plantation in the Eastern Region of Ghana on November 15, 2021 (Photo: Xinhua)

A Ghanaian farmer checks fresh cocoa beans at a plantation in the Eastern region of Ghana on November 15, 2021 (Photo: Xinhua)

A Ghanaian farmer checks fresh cocoa beans at a plantation in the Eastern region of Ghana on November 15, 2021 (Photo: Xinhua)

This photo, taken on November 15, 2021, shows a cluster of cocoa fruits on a plantation in the Eastern region of Ghana.  (Photo: Xinhua)

This photo, taken on November 15, 2021, shows a cluster of cocoa fruits on a plantation in the Eastern region of Ghana. (Photo: Xinhua)

The Chinese market offers a glimmer of hope for Ghana to diversify the export destination of its main cash crop, cocoa, as bilateral relations between the two countries deepen, a business executive told Xinhua.

Nathaniel Durant, COO of Niche Cocoa Industries, a Ghana-based cocoa processing company, said a well-cultivated Chinese market could become a key destination for raw beans, semi-finished products. and cocoa finishes to bring better yields to the country and its cocoa producers.

Durant said industry players must first learn and understand the Chinese market regarding the tastes, reasons or times of consumption, and even the visual components of the various cocoa products that attract consumers.

“Chocolate is consumed differently in China than in Europe. Consumption is around festivals, and big festivals are a big push for chocolate,” he said.

He insisted that the approach to entering the Chinese market with cocoa should not necessarily be the traditional way of using consumption or population per capita to determine the potentials of a market.

“Most people talk about the 1.5 billion people. But that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. There has to be a much better appreciation for the culture and taste that surrounds it, because people from the same community may have different tastes, “added the business leader.

He added that understanding this particular aspect of Chinese consumption alone would create opportunities for Ghana’s premium cocoa confectionery. Durant warned, however, that despite these opportunities in this country, the approach should not just be to produce and enter their market, but to approach the market with better facts.

Besides exporting to China, the company executive listed many other opportunities for Ghana-China collaboration in the cocoa industry.

“We’re not just trying to link with China through cocoa beans. There are opportunities to work in the cocoa trade, opportunities in finished products. There are funding opportunities and opportunities. joint venture, ”he said.

“It’s more than cocoa or chocolate. We also appreciate the other strengths and skills that Chinese companies bring to the table,” Durant added.

Durant said that with Ghanaian farmers still producing premium sun-dried cocoa, the company has what it takes to face the Chinese market for the long term.

Cultivation of cocoa is the main concern of people living in forest belts in 11 of Ghana’s 16 regions. But farmers supplement their cocoa income with food crops to survive year round.

Agricultural work, mostly labor-intensive, using machetes to weed around crops, is arduous, requiring patience and hard work to produce the beans which are sold to buying companies for export by Ghana. Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the industry regulator.

“I took over my mother’s land after my older brother died 15 years ago, and I produce cocoa. Cocoa takes about eight years to start bearing fruit, and by age 15, the trees start earning more for the farmer, ”Yahaya Abudu, a Ghanaian farmer, told Xinhua.

He added that “the price of cocoa is not very good and the buying companies do not pay us the full value of our products. But it is better than being inactive. I am happy to see the Chinese buying. and consume Ghanaian cocoa “.

Abubakar Mubarak, 23, another cocoa farmer from the Eastern Region, said it was a great joy to know that many countries, including China, appreciate chocolate and other cocoa products made in from beans produced by farmers like him.


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