South African bank and Ghana cocoa board explore business expansion strategies

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Ghana supplies 900k metric tons of cocoa, worth $2bn, according to COCOBOD. Together with Côte d'Ivoire, the two nation's supply 60% of the world's cocoa.
Ghana supplies 900k metric tons of cocoa, worth $2bn, according to COCOBOD. Together with Côte d'Ivoire, the two nation's supply 60% of the world's cocoa.

Related tags Ghana Ghana cocoa board Africa Business development Bank Cocoa Cocoa supply chain Cocoa sustainability International cocoa organisation

The Standard Bank Group, Africa’s biggest lender by assets, sent 17 members as part of an immersion program to discuss opportunities for growth in the Ghanian cocoa sector.

The delegation met with Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the chief executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in the capital city of Accra. For its part, the bank has committed 80 of its executives to dig into where and how Africa can grow its businesses and business communities.

During their meeting, Aidoo emphasized the essential economic contributions of the country’s cocoa output to the global supply.

Ghana is second only to Côte d'Ivoire, with an average of 900k metric tons worth $2bn. Together, the two African nations supply 60% of the world’s cocoa.

According to a COCOBOD release, Aidoo also ‘bemoaned’ that despite an estimated $100bn market value for cocoa, the top-two producing nations only accrue $6bn in annual revenue.

Aidoo told the delegates that falling cocoa prices have impacted farmers. According to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), the daily price has sunk 26% from its 2016 peak – from $3182 per ton in January 2016 to $2342 per ton at the start of 2019. As of June, that number had dipped further, to just under $2300 per ton.

“The low revenue had forced some farmers to sell of their farmlands to illegal gold miners,”​ the release said, which “poses a threat to the survival of Ghana’s cocoa industry and the world cocoa economy at large.”

Climate change has also adversely affected the sector’s sustainability, he said, noting that Ghana has taken ‘various steps’ to curb its effects on cocoa production.

COCOBOD launched what it calls Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) to assist farm rehabilitation, mass pruning and hand pollination.

Standard Bank leader Steve Hall said his financial institution will continue to support COCOBOD in its annual loan facility to purchase cocoa.

The 17 visiting executives also visited the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, the Cocoa Processing Company and the Cocoa Marketing Company to ‘have first-hand experience’ of the work COCOBOD does every day.

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