Cocoa continues to play an important role in the world economy, including that of cocoa origin countries like Ghana.
In the 2019/2020 crop season, Ghana produced 850,000 metric tons of cocoa beans, maintaining its position as the 2nd largest producer of cocoa beans in the world.
Almost all the cocoa beans produced in Ghana are exported, earning the country an average of $2 billion in foreign exchange annually.
Notwithstanding the small proportion of local retention, there is a burgeoning local industry that spans the entire cocoa value chain, from cultivation to final consumption.
The local cocoa industry has huge potential for profitable small scale businesses that one can venture into with minimal startup capital.
Come with me let’s explore just 5 business ideas for wealth and job creation in the cocoa value chain. It’s worthy to note that this list is not exhaustive, thus I will be glad to receive your suggestions in the comment section.
Cocoa Value Addition
Cocoa value addition is the first of my top five business ideas for wealth creation in the cocoa value chain.
The cocoa fruit comprises a hard red/yellow shell. Inside the shell are seeds; these seeds, also known as cocoa beans, are the main ingredient for chocolate production.
The cocoa shell or husk has several economic uses, including fertilizer and soap. The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) has a trove of products ready for commercialisation.
Surrounding the cocoa seeds and filling the rest of the space in the cocoa pod is a white-coloured sweet fruit pulp used in producing juices, alcoholic beverages, jam and marmalade and more.
Every part of the cocoa fruit has useful benefits that can be processed and enhanced for consumption.
This makes cocoa processing the largest sector in the entire cocoa value chain and there are endless production opportunities in this sector.
The cocoa processing sector is known mostly for chocolate production, which sector is largely dominated by multinational companies.
However, the last decade has seen an entrance of small scale artisanal chocolate producers emerge in Ghana namely Adansi Bar, Kamini Chocolate, Bioko Treats, 57 Chocolates, De’Laugh Chocolate, just to name a few.
However, beyond chocolate exists countless opportunities for value-added cocoa products in confectionery, cosmetics, beverages, toiletries, wellness products among others.
I believe it would be a good idea to start with reaching out to CRIG, as their doors are always open to working with investors and young entrepreneurs alike.
You could also make it a point to connect with Ghana Cocoa Summit 2021 later in November when experts delve into the theme: Exploring Agribusiness Opportunities in the Cocoa Value Chain for Jobs and Wealth Creation.
Packaging and Distribution
So at this point, you may be considering having your own private label or brand out of the numerous value-added cocoa product options from research institutions and product developers.
Top of your list of considerations should be product packaging for your brand that is soon to hit the retail shelves.
For those without the expertise to develop their own products from the scratch, you may contact a local branding expert to help in designing your packaging.
With the necessary clearance and approval from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), small-scale businesses can purchase finished cocoa products from wholesale manufacturers and package them in their own brand for distribution.
The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana also develops cocoa products which business persons who have approval from FDA can purchase and distribute under their own brand. Do note such an arrangement with CRIG comes with some conditions.
Sale or Leasing of Farm Equipment
Cocoa farming in Ghana and most cocoa origin countries in Africa is an arduous venture. The use of labour-intensive implements like machetes is still the order of the day.
This challenge confronting the cocoa industry currently, also presents a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who will create solutions.
The adoption of technology and mechanical equipment for farm maintenance is obviously out of the reach of the poor farmers, whose average daily income is less than US$1.00
Selling farm equipment on a hire-purchase basis or leasing them out to farmers could actually be a profitable business venture worth pursuing.
Though this idea actually may sound capital intensive, one could consider starting with just one or two machines like the slasher and pruner introduced by Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and expand by reinvesting profits to increase your equipment stock.
It is interesting to note that COCOBOD distributed only 100,000 units of this equipment to the about 800,000 cocoa farming families in the country leaving a huge gap to be filled by entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs in this area could earn some pretty compensation as they contribute to significantly solving one of the major challenges of the global cocoa industry.
Retail of Fertilizer to Farmers
If you are looking to make some good money in the cocoa sector with little or no start-up capital, there is an opportunity in this business for you.
There are several fertilizer brands that have been approved by COCOBOD to be used by cocoa farmers in the country.
You can register to become an agent of one of the companies whose fertilizer has been approved for use.
Here as well you will be contributing to providing greater access to this essential cocoa production input, especially when you set up at the community level.
You may contact your local fertilizer dealership for advice and directions on the necessary requirements for becoming an agent.
The last of my 5 business ideas for wealth creation in the cocoa sector is cocoa blogging.
Starting a blog or website to shed light on the cocoa industry is both instrumental to the industry and in the long run, could be financially rewarding.
The information distribution or circulation business is crucial to the development and sustenance of every industry.
Have you ever considered what would become of the world soccer industry minus the media? Your guess is as good as mine.
Very few people blog on agriculture in Ghana and with the exception of Cocoa Post and maybe a few others, news and media outlets devoted to reporting and mainstreaming issues about the cocoa industry remain scarce.
This writer is not a journalist, but a student of economics who has recently taken interest in the cocoa industry.
I started this journey when I learnt that I could actually have my by-line as a blogger on Cocoa Post to contribute to conversations in the global cocoa and chocolate industry.
You could do the same as me with Cocoa Post to hone your writing skills and build capacity in web publishing and possibly graduate to having your own news and information website for either cocoa or any industry of your interest. Start by dropping a mail to the editor expressing your interest.
And once you get to that point, content marketing, Google Adsense, among others are some available opportunities for generating income for this venture.
- 5 Business Ideas For Wealth Creation In The Cocoa Sector - August 15, 2021