By Papisdaff Abdullah.
Ghana is expected to lose about US$1.5 billion in foreign exchange annually if it does not diversify into coffee production, industry experts have hinted. The commodity, apart from having the potential to rake in more revenue to shore up the US$2 billion cocoa generates annually, according to the experts, could also create more than 500,000 jobs into the Ghanaian economy. Industry experts say the commodity, especially the Robusta coffee is better adapted to slightly higher temperatures and is a better alternative to the country’s number one export commodity, cocoa. The President of the Coffee Federation of Ghana, Chief Nat Ebo Nsarko, in an interview with journalists at the Secretariat of the Federation said Ghana cannot continue to rely on cocoa production to develop its economy looking at the alternative opportunities coffee presents to the country. “Ghana as a country has to diversify into coffee production and would like to see our women at the forefront of this exercise. We’ve had too much of cocoa and we have a lot of lands that could be diversified into coffee production. Coffee has a golden opportunity to do that. When you look at the coffee market, it is quite broad, attractive, lucrative and marketable”, he said. He added “The world is becoming more coffee and the health benefits too are very high. It is not just a great energizer; it can also boost the heart, especially, the elderly, protect one from liver cirrhosis, reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and boost ones exercise routine”.
Members of the Federation had met to celebrate this year’s International Coffee Day and to reflect on the immense benefits of coffee to the global economy while also raising awareness about sustainable coffee cultivation and fair trade practices within the coffee industry. Each year on October 1 since 2015 the world come together to celebrate International Coffee Day. This global event celebrates coffee’s journey from the farm to the local shop or from the bean to the cup as a beverage. This year’s theme for the celebration is ‘Women in Coffee’. The theme chosen by the International Coffee Organization (ICO), according to Mr. Nsarko, couldn’t have been more appropriate looking at the critical role women play in the whole of the coffee chain – from planting the seeds to processing to trading to brewing and drinking it. Ghana is expected to hold an International Coffee Conference in Accra on October 5, 2018. The conference would be under the theme: ‘Unlocking Ghana’s Competitive Position in the Global Robusta Coffee Market’.
Among the industry experts to grace the occasion include; the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Chairman of the Global Coffee Platform, Mr. Carlos Brando and Chief Adams Tiapzi, former Chair, Fairtrade Africa. The Vice-President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is expected to grace the occasion and launch the IFC project. Mr. Nsarko commenting further wished everybody a happy Coffee Day and called on all to give their maximum support to the call for the country to diversify into coffee production. He was hopeful that the conference will be a success and the outcome will be very positive for Ghana.