Some Ghanaians have expressed concern after a viral video captured some Chinese farmers growing and exporting cocoa beans for cash.
But Ghana’s finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta says there is no cause to worry.
Mr Ofori-Atta’s appeal for calm was made public through a Facebook post shared by Gabby Otchere-Darko, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party on Friday, April 24, 2021.
According to Mr Otchere-Darko, he was discussing the news of China experimenting with cocoa production for export and the potential threat that it poses to Ghana’s export economy with the Finance Minister but was surprised with his take on the matter.
He explained that though a lot of people see the news to be negative, the Finance Minister demonstrated a true capitalist mindset by pointing out the positivity in it.
For Ken, China growing cocoa can only help to achieve what isn’t there today: Chinese taste for cocoa products. If it will significantly cultivate Chinese taste for cocoa then Ghana is bound to be a very big winner, he reckons.
China’s population is estimated at 1.4 billion people, equivalent to 18.5% of total world population. That’s what he is focusing on. “My sense is that they can never produce enough cocoa to meet domestic demand in China let alone export,” says Ken, adding, “China is a tea-drinking society.
Yet, Starbucks is benefiting hugely today from a recent taste for coffee in China which was deliberately cultivated. I think we should welcome China’s new interest in cocoa. It can only mean a new and exciting market for us.”
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Meanwhile, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has assured stakeholders not to panic about the news of China exporting Cocoa to Belgium.
Mr Fiifi Boafo, Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, said looking at the quantity of Cocoa exported by the Chinese, there is no cause for alarm as “it was quite small, in actual sense, it’s less than one tonne”.
Mr Boafo, in an interview with the media at a seminar to discuss how to boost local processing of cocoa, said, ”l will say it is too early for anyone to start panicking.”
South China’s island province of Hainan has exported cocoa beans to Belgium for the first time, according to the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences.
The first batch of 500kg of cocoa beans, worth 3,044 euros (about $3,600), was produced in Xinglong, a township of Hainan with a tropical climate, China Daily reported.