Ghana is the second-largest supplier of cocoa to the global market—cocoa beans from Ghana make up about 25 percent of the global supply. The country is widely known for its cocoa beans, but not its chocolate.
There has been a local brand available for the past few decades, but it’s far from what American or European supermarket shelves will typically carry. It’s harder and grittier, sold throughout Ghana, often by hawkers making the most of traffic jams.
But tastes are changing in Ghana—there is a rising middle class and a large foreign community. While sweets might not be as popular as they are in the west, imports show they are growing in popularity, as does increasing availability at supermarkets.
Statistics from 2014 to 2016 show Ghana imports are between US$2.23 million and US$8.06 million worth of chocolate a year, but exports between US$1 billion and $US2 billion of cocoa beans a year.
When it comes to exports, according to government figures, Ghana and neighboring Côte d’Ivoire account for about 60 percent of the world’s output of cocoa. Despite this, the two countries jointly commanded revenue of about US$5.75 billion in 2015. This measures against a global market value of US$100 billion for chocolate in 2015.
In October 2017, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said the trend “cannot, and should not continue.” It is time to enter “different kinds of commercial interests,” to see more processing and value-enhancing aspects of the development of the cocoa industry in Ghana, he said.
The government has been talking about the billion-dollar gap, but large-scale change has been slow-moving. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs have been processing, melting, flavoring, and branding Ghana’s cocoa to make sure Ghanaians reap the rewards of cocoa—creating homegrown and homemade bean-to-bar chocolate products.
“I used to criticize Ghanaian chocolate all the time because it’s so hard. Every time I bit, it was rigid. I would give it to my friends in England and no one would want it,” Ruth Amoah says. “I decided to do something about it. Why can’t we get chocolate that’s like the European style?”
Ruth Amoah visited a cocoa farm in Ghana’s Central region, bought a sack of cocoa, and started experimenting. Now, she has refined her recipe, and her products are in very high demand in the area. She has a retail space in an upmarket area of Accra but struggles to stock it. She says she receives a lot of customized and corporate orders, which keep her busy. Amoah also makes welcome-gift chocolates when heads of state visit Ghana.
According to Ruth Amoah, 2018 will see Moments scaling up, as demand for premium, quality products grows.
She makes chocolate bars, truffles, praline bars, and chocolate spreads, and she is working on cookies and premium popcorn. On average, Amoah makes 10,000 chocolate bars per month. In the near future, she hopes to create an interactive space in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, where people can learn about chocolate and have a go at making their own.
SHE SPOKE TO DENTAA ABOUT HER TRANSITION FROM UK TO GHANA DOING CHOCOLATES
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