Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry, has emphasised the importance of cocoa to the economy of Ghana, and requested Mondelex International of Belgium to strengthen their operations in Ghana, by focusing on the entire value chain in the cocoa industry to create jobs.
The Minister entreated the company to also take a serious look at cocoa waste materials like the cocoa pods, the dead or dried trees, etc., since some of them could be used to produce valuable products such as medicines, electric power like biomass energy to enable Ghana derive the maximum benefits.
Dr Spio-Garbrah, therefore, urged the company to assist their subsidiary branches in Europe to direct some of their investments into Ghana by expanding their operations to add value to the Ghanaian cocoa beans for export.
The Trade and Industry Minister disclosed this when he led Ghana’s delegation to the recently held African Caribbean Pacific Council of Ministers Meetings in Belgium to a meeting with Mondelex at the margin of the ACP meetings.
The main aim of these discussions was to boost Ghana’s export to Europe and, especially Belgium, being the leading cocoa processing country in the world, and to encourage Mondelex to add more value to Ghana’s cocoa beans for local consumption and for export.
Welcoming Ghana’s delegation to Mondelez International were Mr. Francesco Tramontin, Director for External Affairs, and Mrs. Dionne Heijnen, Manager for Public Affairs.
The Mondelex officials said they already had business enterprises located in Ghana, such as Cadbury Ghana Limited, which has been involved in the processing of chocolate drinks and other cocoa products over the years.
The Mondelex team was of the view that their investment in Ghana is also geared towards the farming communities, and they provide cocoa farmers with the needed inputs for farming activities, as well as access to farming skills in twenty farming communities in the country.
The Mondelex officials confirmed that they buy cocoa beans from the farmers for their companies, but lamented their inability to obtain enough cocoa beans to feed their industry.
They called on the European Commission to, not only provide funds to governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), but to also to make room for funding to the private sector operators in developing countries, in order to enhance their businesses, thereby enabling the economies of those countries to grow.
They informed the delegation that officials from Mondelez will travel to Ghana in the first half of 2015 to assess the operations of their companies, and explore further avenues for investment in Ghana.
Mondelez is the world’s biggest chocolate and biscuits manufacturer, and employs over 100,000 employees.
A member of the delegation, His Excellency Morgan Adokwei Brown, Ghana’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the E.U., in his remarks called on the company to assist Ghanaian industrialists to improve on the packaging of their products in order to add value to them.