The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) says it is ready to lead and mentor young investors to set up businesses in the cocoa value chain in its quest to enhance value-addition in the export of the commodity.
According to the state exports promoter, the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS), which it is spearheading, aptly emphasises the need for value addition to cocoa to ensure that the economy rakes in more revenue from the commodity.
“GEPA has a lot of plans in this regard, because it ties in well with what we want to achieve with exports to the world. In the NEDS, there are specific interventions that we want to roll out to entice the youth of the country to become ‘cocoapreneurs’,” Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the authority, Samuel Dentu, told Business24 in an interview at the 2021 Africa Cocoa and Chocolate Expo (ACCE).
“The cocoa tree itself offers so much value that could be explored by the youth if they get exposed to it. The plan is to get more youth into the production of cocoa and cocoa derivatives, and to let them know that there are boundless opportunities that still remain untapped,” he added.
This year’s conference, on the theme “Africa Beyond Beans: Raising a New Generation of Cocoapreneurs for Wealth Creation”, drew stakeholders’ attention to the need to promote and increase consumption of cocoa products as a way of boosting government’s industrial agenda.
The conference convened industry stakeholders to discuss various cocoa-related concerns.
The deputy GEPA boss encouraged the youth to leverage platforms such as the ACCE to identify business opportunities around cocoa to help reduce unemployment in the country.
GEPA has already expressed its excitement about the increasing number of young entrepreneurs venturing into chocolate and other cocoa-based production, such as cosmetics and confectionery.
“There is a lot of talk about youth unemployment, and we have developed systematic programmes that will be rolled out very soon to position the cocoa value chain as an attractive venture,” Mr. Dentu further indicated.
The expo ended over the weekend with a physical tour to model cocoa farms located in the Eastern Region.