Deputy Chief Executive of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Albert Kassim Diwura, has said the authority is set to provide capacity building for cocoa processors to maximise export base.

Speaking to Adom News at the maiden edition of the African Cocoa and Chocolate Expo on the theme, ‘Celebrating Innovation and Motivating Consumption’, Kassim Diwura, emphasised the need for proper packaging by processors to make their products attractive on the international market.

“Sometimes you may possess something of good quality but if you don’t package it properly, nobody would even recognise it, so at GEPA, what we do is give the small and medium scale processors the training to build their capacity,” he said.

Kassim Diwura said the Authority aims to increase the amount Ghana realised from non-traditional cocoa export in 2018 hence the essence of strengthening the capacity of local stakeholders.

“Cocoa constituted 27% of the over $2 billion derived from non-traditional exports in 2018 and we believe the packaging we are giving to the processors will expose them to the world market to upsurge the amount”.

He further indicated the authority has “realised from the exhibition that, a lot of small startups have good products but poor packaging, so in order to make them export-ready, we have to train those who are beginners for the reason that if we don’t increase the export base, we cannot increase the earnings”, he averred.

Speaking on the felling of cocoa trees to cultivate rubber, Kassim advised farmers to secure alternative lands to cultivate any of the other five plants the president launched for the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD).

“President launched five plants for the PERD programme and we are not saying rubber is not good but you cannot cut down cocoa trees to plant all the other crops but seek land from the numerous idle lands available in the country”, he said.

Speaking at the same event, a member of the Cocoa Consumption Committee of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Dr Edward Okyere Amporful said the measures are in place to put the larger percentage of the entire cocoa tree to use. He said much research has been done about the cocoa pod to produce animal feed and biofuel.