Ghana’s cocoa industry readies for world stage
ITC's Alliances for Action showcased its work in Ghana’s cocoa industry, helping everyone from farmers to chocolatiers grow their businesses.
Chocoluv is a pioneer bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker in Ghana, founded by Monica Nana Ama Senanu.
She had a simple desire: to show that Ghana can make quality chocolate, not just grow cocoa beans.
When she started in 2016, Senanu was a full-time lawyer who created treats in her home kitchen for family and friends. Six years later, she employs 11 people at her company, which has a factory in Accra and a well-placed boutique in Ghana’s main airport.
“It’s been an interesting journey,” she said. “Somehow God just led me from one person to another as I developed this business.”
Her business also highlights a valuable evolution in Ghana’s cocoa market.
Despite Ghana producing over 17% of the world's cocoa beans, the country only reaps a small portion of the billion-dollar chocolate industry's profits. Without enough domestic manufacturing, businesses can’t process cocoa beans into chocolate, which earns a higher price. Chocoluv is one of the companies changing this dynamic. Although currently focused on the domestic market, Senanu is working with the International Trade Centre through the Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF V) project to obtain certification to begin exporting their finished chocolates.
For chocolatiers like Senanu, who has worked with ITC’s Alliance for Action programme from her business’s inception, access to all of this knowledge opens doors to expanding operations. She hopes to one day have Chocoluv involved in every stage of the process, from farm to chocolate box.
NTF V works along the entire cocoa value chain, from the farmers who grow cocoa, to the processors who turn the beans into cocoa products, to the chocolatiers like Senanu who make the finished chocolates. All of this work was unveiled in June 2022 during a visit by Linde Breukelaar, the official at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who looks after the project.
More than 20 micro, small and medium-sized cocoa processors are working with the project. That includes over 100,000 small farmers in the Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union, which promotes ethical agriculture. Among the larger participants are Niche and Cocoa Processing Company, the country’s biggest cocoa processors with a combined capacity of 150,000 tons a year, said Theresah Morkeh, a project officer under ITC’s Alliance for Action Ghana programme.
Working together with NTF V, cocoa and chocolate businesses are innovating their products and recipes, while also improving food safety, corporate procedures, and certifications.
Esoko, a digital technology company, is surveying 1,000 Kuapo Kokoo farmers as part of the NTF V project to see how digital tools can improve their work, said Attah-Kwei Adama, project manager at Esoko.
By joining Kuapo Kokoo, farmers commit to fair labour practices and to agronomic techniques that do not rely on burning or the use of chemicals. Some 2,900 of their farmers have also started diversified cropping, which is boosting their incomes by growing more than one crop on the same piece of land.
The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports MSMEs in the digital technologies through its EcomConnect programme and agribusiness sectors through its Alliances for Action programme. Its ambition is two-fold: to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of food systems, partially through digital solutions, and drive the internationalisation of tech start-ups and export of IT&BPO companies in selected Sub-Saharan African countries.