On 26 and 27 September 2022, the Ghana Embassy in Brussels and the International Trade Centre (ITC) held a special event showcasing the transformational changes in Ghana’s food sector through a focus on creating value to producers of coffee and cocoa and value addition at origin.
Hosting the event, H.E. Mrs Sena Siaw-BOATENG, Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana, welcomed the ITC initiative and partners such as the Netherlands Trust Fund project, which are working hand in hand with public bodies, producers, processors to change the narrative of “commodity-exporting countries” to one of culture, resource, and innovation-rich countries capable of bringing sustainable, value added products to the table.
Alliances for Action (A4A) is an ITC initiative to establish a network that transforms food systems and advances the SDGs through producer partnerships that cultivate ethical, climate-smart, sustainable agricultural value chains.
In Ghana, ITC-A4A supports the coffee value chain through partnership with the Cocoa Board, the Coffee federation of Ghana, and the Agency of Robusta Coffee of Africa and Madagascar (ACRAM). The organization intervenes under the ACP Business-friendly programme, jointly implemented by the World Bank (WB), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the International Trade Center (ITC) to support inclusive policies at national and regional levels and strengthens productive capabilities and value chains.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Escipion Escipión J. Oliveira Gόmez, Assistant Secretary-General of the OACPS, noted that ITC’ initiative is part of the broader partnership between the EU and the OACPS to support Private Sector Development. Mrs Cécile Billaux, Head of Unit, Private Sector, from European Commission’s DG INTPA commended the fact that through very concrete actions, ITC is supporting producers to bring local value addition.
Cocoa is central to Ghana’s economic activities and livehoods, and coffee is said to be its next area of focus as it attempts to diversify risks and opportunities for sustainable development. “There is a strong need to exchange among us best practices and get the appropriate technical assistance” indicated Hon. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, Minister of Information of Ghana who highlighted 4 main issues: i) the need for sustainable improving of yields; ii) Protecting the environment; iii) Assuring labour rights; iv) improving domestic & value adding processing.
A Panel discussion considered Ghana’s cocoa and coffee value chains within the context of sustainability. Farmers cooperatives such as Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative Cocoa Farmers & Marketing Union Limited (KKFU) includes over 100,000 small farmers and promotes ethical agriculture: “Farmers don’t always see cocoa production as a business opportunity, but rather as a heritage. This is where technical assistance and specific support to improve the livehoods of cocoa farmers along with achieving a sustainably improved crop yield are needed. “ says Nelson Adubofour, Executive Secretary of KKFU.
Ghana is a producer of the Robusta coffee species, which grows in its low-altitude mountains. Ghanaians coffee entrepreneurs are working to reach a production at scale while improving quality and promoting awareness that Robusta can compete in the premium and specialty segments locally, and eventually in the international green coffee market. Emi-beth Aku Quantson is the Founder and CEO of Kawa Moka Coffee Company. This 100% women owned Ghanaian Coffee Company is specialized in the production of artisan small batch roasted coffee. The green beans are grown organically by over twenty women small farm owners of the Volta Region: “Coffee is a very exciting sector. We need to add value locally, so that we can create jobs and empower women and youth along the value chain”, says this passionate female entrepreneur who puts emphasis on economically and socially responsible production.
Participants discussed the contribution of partners in the ITC A4A to secure sustainable incomes response to the Ghana Government’s policy to process more cocoa and coffee at home. Niche Cocoa Industry, the fastest-rising local processor, has expanded its production which is mainly for exports to include cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa cake and chocolates. Local processing of cocoa from beans to the finished product not only creates job opportunities but also contributes to improve the development of technical know-how locally: “One of our biggest challenges is the need to attract investment in the country’s processing industry”, says Edmund Poku, its Managing Director, who is hoping that with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), regional chocolate trade will increase and create new business opportunities in Africa.
The event was also the occasion for a coffee tasting session and chocolate showcase.