The Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) has received 1,000 tons of cocoa beans from the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD under a special arrangement aimed at reviving the fortunes of the grinder.
The beans are the first tranche of a 30,000-ton pledge made by COCOBOD, which also happens to be the majority shareholder of the company.
The Acting Managing Director of CPC, Dr Frank Adu Asante, confirmed to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that it had received the first consignment but was waiting for formal documentation that would allow it to receive the remaining 29,000 tons.
“Formal documentation to this effect is yet to be done. However, in line with COCOBOD’s determination to partner CPC to promote the local consumption of cocoa products, we have, for the time being, received 1,000 tons of cocoa for the smooth running of our confectionery factory.”
“So far 200 tons of this quantity has been processed in the factory,” he stated.
CPC, which has a capacity of processing about 65,000mt of cocoa beans annually, has been inactive due to the lack of cocoa beans as COCOBOD refused to supply them with the raw material because of a US$50 million debt to the regulator.
COCOBODS decision to start supplying the company with cocoa beans again is therefore aimed at helping it to operate at full capacity and be viable to repay its US$ 50 million debt to its suppliers and the US$ 20 million owed to the syndicated banks.
Dr Adu Asante said this move would help the company to take up favourable positions on the market with forward contracts. He said this would also enable them to regularly supply its customers with their preferred portem semi-finished cocoa products.
He pointed out that liquidity and cash flow of the company would also improve and be able to repay their debts. “Workers will also become more motivated even by the presence of beans in the factory and morale will be improved,” he noted.
The Acting Managing Director also pointed out that over the past few years, the company had experienced severe adverse conditions due to its inability to purchase its main raw material, cocoa beans.
Compounding the situation was the ever-increasing cost of utilities and fuel to power its machinery.
To mitigate these, he said the company embarked on a turnaround programme which included a tolling arrangement to utilise idle capacity, drilling of bore holes to reduce reliance on irregular but expensive city water, and the retooling of its boilers to use cheaper liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of diesel.
He said the company had also managed to secure permit to purchase direct and cheaper power from the Volta River Authority (VRA), and had also reduced over heads through outsourcing of non-core operations.
Promotion of products
Dr Adu Asante also mentioned that measures had been taken to increase the promotion of its confectionery products with minimal costs. He said new markets for its Golden Tree products were also being sought in West Africa, East and South Africa.
“Handmade chocolate making training course has also started to encourage the use and consumption of Golden Tree chocolates,” he added. —GB
Source : graphic.com.gh