The Managing Director of the United Arab Emirates Trade Centre, Mr. Walid Hareb, has urged Ghana to establish a cocoa trading hub in Dubai.
He said the hub, which could be a pilot project, would make Dubai the focal point for Ghana’s cocoa, where raw beans and chocolate could be traded.
Mr Hareb said such a platform would help Ghana access European and Arab markets “because the whole world is in Dubai”.
According to him, many companies in the UAE used cocoa powder to produce chocolate.
“So if we focus on cocoa by giving it a boost here, it will help position Ghana cocoa to power our food production hub,” he said, adding that it would also boost the product trade.
“It will also help to develop commercial relations between Ghana and the United Arab Emirates,” he noted.
Mr Hareb was speaking during a courtesy visit by Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to the Under Secretary of the Standards and Legislation Sector of the Ministry of industry and advanced technologies of the United Arab Emirates, Mrs. Farah Alzarooni, in Dubai last Sunday.
Dr Akoto is in the United Arab Emirates at the invitation of the Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates, Madam Marian bint Mohammed Al Mheiri, to attend a Food for Future summit and exhibition during the Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Expo 2020 week.
As part of the visit, Dr. Akoto will address the summit and also participate in a ministerial roundtable.
The meeting will discuss various opportunities in the cocoa industry and how to attract investors to the sector.
Ms. Alzarooni urged Ghana to position itself as the certification center for halal slaughterhouses in the sub-region.
She described the lack of halal certification in Ghana as a mistake.
Halal slaughter involves passing the blade down an animal’s throat, a process in which the animal loses consciousness very quickly. In halal slaughter, the animal is allowed to bleed completely.
According to her, few countries in Africa had such certification and hence encouraged Ghana to seize the opportunity and get the certification.
Ms Alzarooni said there was a huge opportunity in halal meat and skin and said Ghana could explore the opportunity “to earn a lot of hard currency”.
She dispelled the perception that halal meat was purely Islamic, saying “it is a hygienic way to prepare meat”.
In his response, Dr Akoto said such mutual collaboration was important as it would ensure that Ghana would sell cocoa products directly to manufacturers in Dubai.
He said Ghana wanted investors to join in, “so that we can consolidate what we have and also expand it.”
The minister said he was excited by the interest shown in Ghanaian cocoa.
Regarding halal certification, Dr Akoto said this was an area the country could explore given the benefits that could accrue to Ghana.