The Department of Food Science and Technology at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is expanding uses of cocoa for job creation and income generation.
A value addition training programme has been initiated, in collaboration with the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), to reduce product waste along the cocoa value chain. The objective of the hand-made chocolate production training, under the tag of “chocopreneurship”, is to produce a new breed of entrepreneurs in the chocolate industry.
The short course in artisanal chocolate production has been instituted as an annual programme to increase opportunities and value addition to cocoa.
Training facilitator, Dr. Jacob Agbenorhevi, says unlike factory-processed chocolate products, the hand-made chocolates offer varieties in taste and packaging with competitive pricing.
“We have very few people trained in this field, so we saw the need train more people and in so doing we increase the use of the cocoa products as well as increase income generation and employability of participants,” he stated.
He added that the KNUST wants to continually partner industry to value to products to maximize economic opportunities. “We have a chain and this chain is not just about supply but there should be value addition.
So if you have something from the farmer to the traders and we do some treatment to add value to it, it will now make it the more attractive for people to buy, then it will reduce loss and reduce waste,” noted Mr. Agbenorhevi.
Trainees under the programme are offered start-up kits to begin their new chocolate production ventures Sylvia Kafui, one of the 14 participants in the chocopreneurship short course, says she has learnt to be artistic in making her chocolate products.
“In the past, all the chocolate bars on the market from CPC are all industrially produced and this time because they want chocolate to get to everybody, we’ve been taught how to make it with our own hands,” she said. “It’s a good business to start with; it’s not so capital intensive as we have been made to understand”.