In a groundbreaking move set to reshape the cocoa sector, KOA, a pioneering Ghanaian-Swiss start-up, has taken a giant leap by inaugurating Africa’s largest cocoa fruit factory in Akim Achiase, nestled within the Eastern Region of Ghana. This monumental event, attended by a gathering of 600 esteemed guests, including representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Embassy of Switzerland, marks a pivotal turning point in the trajectory of both KOA and the cocoa industry as a whole.
The profound significance of this new facility lies in its potential to catapult KOA’s production capabilities to unprecedented heights, achieving a tenfold increase. But this expansion isn’t just about numbers; it’s about transforming lives. The inauguration of this factory will usher in a collaboration with an additional 10,000 cocoa smallholders in Ghana, amplifying the company’s positive impact on the very heart of the cocoa supply chain.
KOA’s mission extends beyond the conventional realms of cocoa processing. With a pioneering spirit, the Ghanaian-Swiss company has revolutionized the industry through innovative upcycling of the cocoa fruit, bringing an entirely new dimension to the fore. As the first company in West Africa to tap into the potential of discarded cocoa pulp, KOA has opened up a whole new value chain, once overlooked.
At the core of KOA’s approach is a close partnership with cocoa smallholders. This collaboration not only tackles on-farm food waste around the cocoa fruit but also elevates the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, resonating with sustainable growth ideals. This dynamic approach has birthed unique ingredients that are finding their way into the gastronomy and food and beverage sector, from tantalizing chocolates to delectable confectionery, refreshing ice creams, and invigorating drinks, both within Ghana and beyond its borders.
Since its inception in 2017, KOA has already upcycled a staggering 800 tons of cocoa fruit, previously disregarded in the industry. Within just five years, this initiative has already benefited 2,200 cocoa farmers, translating to a cumulative income of GH¢2.3 million ($300,000). With the inauguration of the cocoa fruit factory in Akim Achiase, a new chapter unfolds for KOA, promising an extended reach and even more profound impact on the cocoa industry.
The stellar guest list at this momentous event speaks volumes about its significance. Notable figures like Kobina Tahir Hammond, Ghana’s Minister of Trade & Industry, and Dr. Simone Haeberli, Deputy Head of Mission & Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana, Togo, and Benin, have graced the occasion. Their presence underscores the gravity of this milestone, both for Ghana and the cocoa industry.
In his welcome address, Anian Schreiber, Managing Director and Co-Founder of KOA, emphasized the transformative power of the new factory. He envisaged a value chain that not only uplifts farmers and communities but also resonates on a global scale. By supplying products for both domestic and international markets, the factory becomes a conduit that bridges Achiase and Ghana with the world.
This monumental undertaking isn’t solely about innovation; it’s about people. Daniel Otu, Production & Operations Director at KOA, shed light on the factory’s potential to generate 250 new jobs in rural Ghana. It’s not just about economic growth; it’s about empowering communities and allowing KOA to extend its cocoa fruit upcycling to an additional 10,000 cocoa farmers.
The inauguration of Africa’s largest cocoa fruit factory in Ghana marks an epochal stride for KOA, illuminating a path of progress, sustainability, and transformation in the cocoa industry. As the cocoa fruit journeys from the fields to the factory, and eventually to diverse corners of the world, KOA’s endeavor symbolizes not just an achievement but a commitment to innovation with a purpose. This factory isn’t just a structure; it’s a beacon of change, linking continents and communities, one cocoa fruit at a time.
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