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29.09.2005 Regional News

We can't satisfy demand for school children now - CPC

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Tema, Sept. 29, GNA - The Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) Limited on Tuesday said it was not in the position now to meet government demands of providing each student in the country's schools with at least a cup of cocoa drink a day.

Mr Richard Armarh Tetteh, Managing Director of CPC, who said this during a familiarisation tour of the establishment by the Minister of Environment and Science (MES), Ms Christine Churcher said the Company would only be able to satisfy the demand when its 22 million-Euro expansion programme was completed.

The Company is undergoing rehabilitation in order to improve its current production of 25,000 tonnes of cocoa products per annum to 30,000 tonnes but needs Government assistance in sourcing for finance. The Government announced the initiative of providing a cup of cocoa to schoolchildren in this year's budget to boost the local consumption of cocoa.

Dr Gheysika Adombire Agambila, Deputy Minister, MES, accompanied the Minister together with some environmental experts from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) including the Chief Executive Officer Mr Johnathan Allotey to assess at first hand the Company's compliance with national environmental standards. Mr Tetteh said due to the low production levels of the Company, it had to turn down an order from a Chinese company for supplies of CPC's confectionery and other products to China.

"We turned down the order because we feared we might not be able to meet the demands of the huge markets that existed in China," he said. "We do not have the capacity to serve even one province within China due to their huge markets. One consignment to China could take a whole year's production."

Mr Tetteh said that so far about 90 per cent of the Company's products were being exported to the Americas, Japan and European markets.

"We cannot add the Chinese markets now because it is too big for us, but we may consider it when we complete the expansion project which is currently on-going.

"Our desire is to be able to utilise the 40 per cent local production of cocoa beans being made available to the private sector for processing locally by the Government," he said.

Dr Agambila urged CPC to harness science and technology to improve their production saying; "we want all our enterprises to move the economy forward".

Ms Churcher reminded the Company that in its quest to expand, it should be mindful of the environment within which it operated. The Minister and her entourage also toured Barry Callebaut Ghana Limited, a cocoa processing company, which exported all its products in a semi-finished form, and Pioneer Food Cannery Limited, a subsidiary of H. J. Heinz.

At Barry Calebaut, Mrs Churcher praised the company for maintaining high environmental standards and urged it to continue to be pace setters for other industries with which they were in competition. 28 Sept. 05