Alternative Uses for Cocoa by Ghanaian Company Volta Winery
Ghana is well known for its contribution to the global Cocoa supply, being the second-largest producer of Cocoa worldwide. The country exports over 800,000 tonnes of Cocoa per year on average, making it Ghana’s primary commercial crop and a huge contributor to their economy.
The value of the commodity lies in the Cocoa beans, which make up only around 25 per cent of the Cocoa pod. What remains is about 25 per cent Cocoa pulp, and 50 per cent husk, both of which are typically considered to be waste products.
Dr Harrison Adjimah, a Ghanaian senior lecturer, utilises Cocoa pulp to manufacture a sweet wine, which he sells through his company Volta Winery in an effort to reduce wastage and get more out of the country’s main commodity.
Adjimah, who hosts an entrepreneurship programme, wanted to teach his students to innovate and come up with creative solutions to add value to the raw materials available locally. “We were looking for ways to prove to the students that it is possible to develop premium products from our local resources. So the idea of making wine from Cocoa became quite appealing.”
The wine is produced using only the pulp of the Cocoa fruit, leaving the beans intact. This means that the main value of the crop — the Cocoa beans — is still available for export. “What is so clear is that there are aspects of things in the Cocoa that we are not using for anything. For example, if you are making wine from Cocoa, the Cocoa bean is there, you can still export it. We are spanning the Cocoa industry, and am proud to be part of that push as well,” said the Volta Winery founder.
Volta Winery’s Cocoa wine has been previously nominated for Best Innovative Product at the Ghana Cocoa Awards (2019) and goes to show that innovation can continue to bring new value to resources that have been around for millennia. While Adjimah has been making wine from cocoa pulp for a number of years, Koa, a food upcycling start-up, has taken a different approach to reduce cocoa wastage. Farmers get paid for their Cocoa pulp, which is then turned into a juice, concentrate, or powder that may be utilized in a variety of recipes.
Photo source: Volta Winery