Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) is exploring the Chinese market to sell the country’s premium cocoa products, for which it has been holding talks.
Cocobod also plans to put up a good display at the maiden China International Import Exposition to be held in Shanghai from November 5 to November 10, 2018.
“A team from Cocobod has already met officials at the Chinese Embassy. We have again met in Accra, and our officers have started putting things together and it is because Cocobod wants to enter and explore the huge Chinese market for cocoa products,” Noah Kwesi Amenyah, Cocobod’s Public Affairs Manager, told the B&FT.
“We want to send into that market value-added cocoa products and not just raw beans; it will be good for us to get the Chinese public to know that Ghana’s cocoa is the best and it has a lot of nutritional and health benefits and therefore they should patronize it,” he said.
Although China’s per capita chocolate consumption is considered low, less than 5 percent of what major lovers munch in the west, market research firm Ebrun reports that the market for chocolate in China is expected to grow to 40 billion yuan ($6.2 billion) by 2020.
Ghana’s main export destinations are the Netherlands, with a market share of 12.88 percent, France 11.6 percent and the US 10.9 percent.
France and the US grew significantly during 2012-16. Exports to France saw high growth. With an average annual growth of more than 23 percent over 2012-16, the country became the second largest Ghanaian export destination.
Business with Spain and Belgium remained quite stable during 2012-16 with exports between $5-40 million.
Total exports of cocoa products from Ghana amounted to $542 million in 2016.
Exports to the Dutch market dropped from $205 million in 2012 to only $70 million in 2016, an average decrease of 24 percent per year.
Ghana’s exports to China, on the other hand, are dominated by traditional or primary goods, such as unprocessed cocoa, raw metals, wood products, and petroleum oils, which account for 96 percent of exports to the Asian nation, statistics from the Ministry of Trade show.
China International Import Expo
The China International Import Exposition is expected to attract over 100 countries and regions showcasing multifarious products. It is also expected that thousands of enterprises from these countries will attend the event, bringing up to 1 million commodities and services to the Chinese market.
China is therefore inviting Ghanaian manufacturers to enter its vast market to exhibit their products and to take advantage of the opportunity.
At a joint media briefing, Chai Zhijing, Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy, said that the exhibition is an opportunity for local business owners to woo foreign investors into Ghana.
He said: “At the moment, as far as biological trade is concerned, Ghana is one of our top 10 trading partners in Africa.
But at the moment, Ghana’s trade with China is in a deficit. That means that Ghana buys more from China than it exports,” Chai said.
“So, I think this Import Expo will be a very good opportunity for Ghana to show its potential – what it can offer to the Chinese consumers,” he added.
Deputy Trades Minister Carlos Ahenkorah reaffirmed the government’s commitment to supporting local manufacturers and business owners, adding that the ministry is considering a proposal to acquire a pavilion in China to aid Ghanaian exhibitors.
“We want to take advantage of the early bird offer and have a whole pavilion to ourselves in addition to the individual enterprises that are going to have their own,” he said.
“If our request is accepted; if our one-month moratorium is given, I can assure you that within the month of February we would be able to affirm our commitment to taking a pavilion for Ghana in the expo,” he added.
Over the past decade, China’s annual retail sales growth rate has stayed above 10 percent. While Chinese consumers are now starting to value quality over price, imported goods are becoming popular.
In the past, the import market was dominated by large overseas companies. Nowadays, small and medium-sized businesses are selling huge amounts of products in China via new channels such as shopping agents, supermarkets and E-commerce.