Tema, Nov. 10, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday inaugurated a 22-million Euro state-of-the-art plant installed under phase one of the Cocoa Processing Company's (CPC) expansion programme. The plant has the capacity to process 30,000 metric tons of cocoa beans into cocoa liquor to bring-up the Company's overall total production to 55,000 metric ton.
With this, the CPC's current turnover of about 40 million dollars is expected to increase to a minimum of about 100 million dollars. President Kufuor said the expansion programme was yet another indication that with the right policies and determination on the part of Government, the manufacturing sector of the economy would pick up. He said the increase in cocoa production to more than 700,000 tons last year, from 400,000 tons two years earlier, though a cause for joy, was not without problems considering the fluctuations and sometimes abysmally low prices, which had been the bane of the economy. He said it was for this reason that the completion of the project was timely and hoped that the next phase, which would raise the production capacity to 65,000 tons annually, would soon start. President Kufuor said the debt write-off following the HIPC Initiative and the 100 percent debt forgiveness by multi-lateral donors were positive developments that were giving the economy a new lease of life and an opportunity to move to a higher level of development. "Indeed, the nation is now on a new plateau with a clear vista of opportunities which must be exploited fully and efficiently to facilitate the realisation of the national aspiration of becoming a middle income country in the next decade.
This is no time to be complacent, neither is it time to give in to cynicism. We must all see the light at the end of the tunnel and reach out to it."
Madam Cecelia Ama Dapaah, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said the Government's policy of increasing processing of Ghana's raw cocoa beans from 20 percent to 40 percent had not only been achieved but exceeded by five percent.
She said with the expected increase in volume of its products, CPC had already established new markets in the West African sub-region as well as the Far East, South Africa and the Middle East. The Far East Market was secured as a result of President Kufuor's visit to Japan, she said, adding that the traditional markets in Europe and United States were also being strengthened.
Madam Dapaah, who is the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, said CPC would continue to add value to the country's cocoa by processing them into cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cake and powder and also finished Golden Tree confectionery products.
Mr Richard Amarh Tetteh, Managing Director of the Company, said the future of cocoa processing in the country was bright and that they would continue to expand the processing capacity.
The plant was installed with a syndicated loan while the Company used 15 billion cedis from its own internally generated funds together with a 16.75 billion cedi loan facility from the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) to carry out civil works under the expansion programme.