Just this week, news broke that China had successfully produced and exported cocoa beans in commercial quantities, days later; Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta has shared a contrary view to what has become a general public concern over the development.
For many Ghanaians, the news of China finally producing cocoa casts a bleak picture for Ghana which has over the years depended very much on cocoa as a net contributor to the nation’s GDP.
For others, their concerns extend to the irony in the fact that factors contributing to drops in the nation’s cocoa production in recent times, has been partly due to illegal gold mining activities in the country which a lot of Chinese nationals have been involved in.
But for Ghana’s Finance Minister, he is reported to have taken a rather “capitalist” view on the development and has held that the situation could rather serve as an opportunity for the country to become a big winner instead of being a loser as many have predicted.
“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,” Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, a close relative of the minister shared a conversation the two had on the matter.
In a Facebook post made on Friday, April 23, 2021, Gabby quoted the words of Mr Ofori Atta as: “My sense is that they can never produce enough cocoa to meet domestic demand in China let alone export.”
“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.”
Put together, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire control about 60% of world cocoa produce and concerns over China’s possible entry into the scene have grown into apprehension over what many say is the possibility of China taking over due to the availability of technology at its disposal as well as the advantage its population of almost 2 billion provides in terms of labour.
China is reported to have exported 500kg of cocoa beans worth $3,600 dollars produced in its island province of Hainan to Belgium.