The Government has intensified its efforts in exploring the possibility of making China a major consumer of cocoa products from Ghana.
In the first quarter of 2017, trade volume between Ghana and China reached nearly US$1.4 billion.
But the Ghanaian government is seeking to build new trade links with China through cocoa as China's increasing urban
population would drive chocolate consumption.
Market analysts have projected that chocolate sales in China could grow to $4.3 billion by 2019, up nearly 60 percent from $2.7 billion in 2014, driven by demand from the growing urban population, a senior Hershey officer forecast on Wednesday.
The increase reflects the chocolate industry's continued bet on growing emerging market consumption, despite recent indications of slowing demand in fast-growing Asian markets.
Speaking to the Chinese media after a meeting with Managing Director for GENERTEC, Junfu King, Chief Executive for COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo courted the Asian country to take advantage of the huge business gap of the cocoa value chain which is largely dominated in America and Europe.
The Chief Executive stressed on consuming cocoa as a substitute for sugar, therefore, persons who have problems with sugar and are shifting from sugar, can consume cocoa.
"I know the middle class in China are concerned about their health and are ready to spend on products that will boost their health. When a child takes chocolate with a high concentration of cocoa, it makes the child more intelligent, it makes them glow and look younger; the men become stronger and when the elderly takes, it helps fight diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, we must drive them to take cocoa," the COCOBOD CEO emphasised.
Mr. Boahem Aidoo invited Chinese investors to Ghana to look for the possibility of establishing cocoa processing factories in line with the drive by President Nana Akufo-Addo, to process at least 50% of cocoa in Ghana.
He said Ghana is ever ready to meet the demand from China while giving the assurance that the beans from Ghana is the benchmark for quality cocoa.
According to him, the government is projecting an increase in the production of cocoa in the coming season following the introduction of modern technologies to the farmers which include, mechanisation of cocoa, the introduction of irrigation to improve farm yield, pruning and hand pollination.
Managing Director for GENERTEC, Junfu King on his part expressed their readiness to partner COCOBOD to promote the consumption of chocolate among the middle class.
He said they are willing to reverse the trend where chocolate from Europe and the Americas have dominated the Chinese market.
“It's a shame that the Chinese chocolate market has been dominated by the European and American companies, a trend that ought to be changed,” Mr. King noted.
Genertec is the biggest supplier of cocoa to China with all their cocoa coming from Ghana.