Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ghana: WAMCO recovers its business with US$50m export of cocoa products

West Africa Mills Company Limited (WAMCO) has shipped about 20,000 metric tonnes (MT) of cocoa products out of the country, valued at US$50million, since the re-activation begun in 2017. The company has traditionally shipped cocoa products such as natural cocoa liquor, deodorized cocoa butter and expeller cake used as raw materials in chocolate confectionery to Europe, but has now expanded its market to Asia, the Middle East and North Africa over the past four years. After shutting down for two years (between 2014-2016), the company reopened but had to let some staff go to keep it afloat. However, management has been able to turn things around and the company now has 150 staff fully back to work.

Commenting on the turnaround during a visit by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Chief Executive Officer
of WAMCO, Frank Bednar, explained the progress the company has made thus far “Our company is earning foreign exchange for the country, promoting products made in Ghana and building the capacity of young Ghanaians. Our main objectives in the months ahead are to increase the capacity level by processing more beans; re-activate WAMCO (hydraulic-press plant) to add more value and employ more workers. The plant can also absorb an additional 150 staff as well as modernisation of WAMCO 1’s processing plants, as the plants are aging.

“We will invest into more alternative powerGermany (60 percent shareholder) generation (solar power, waste into energy) to reduce energy costs and restart the shea processing business at the expeller plant during times in which lesser-graded beans are not available, and a new board to steer affairs of the company,” Mr. Owusu said.

The company went through some turbulent times and was not working from 2014 to 2016. With support from government and shareholders of the company, COCOBOD and management of WAMCo successfully implemented structures which revived the
company. This year marks the fourth year since it was reactivated.
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