The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) and Ghana Standard Board (GSB) have confirmed that raw cocoa powder contains medicinal properties capable of curing myriad of ailments such as heart and skin diseases.
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Eledi, said this when he launched the "Keeping fit on the Cocoa Trail” programme in Accra yesterday.
The programme seeks to promote healthy lifestyle through walking and the consumption of cocoa products.
Mr Eledi commended the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Affairs for drawing attention to the benefits derived from other products made from cocoa because it was only chocolate and cocoa beverage with sugar and milk that were known.
“Only recently did we learn about Prof F. Kwaku Addai's invention of raw cocoa powder, researched further by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and now produced in commercial quantities by the Cocoa Processing Company Limited and given the name “Brown Gold”.
“Others such as Chocho industries are now using the cocoa butter to give us healthy creams and salves to help not only in brightening our beautiful skin, but also in actually healing skin diseases,” he said.
Mr Eledi said while it was envisaged that much of what was processed in the country would earn the much needed foreign exchange, "it will be better if Ghanaians are consuming more than half of the cocoa we process".
He expressed delight at the intention of the organisers to place emphasis on the serving of local foods, particularly local rice, at the event on Republic Day.
Mr Eledi appealed to distributors and market women to refrain from the practice of buying local rice, particularly the superior varieties and re-bagging them in sacks which had been labelled “Chicago Rice”, “American Long Grain', and “Thailand Perfumed Rice”.
“It breaks my heart that we can indulge in these unholy practices ourselves. It is a legacy of the inferiority syndrome inflicted on the psyche of our people as a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and worsened by colonialism”.
He called for the need to stop depending on foreign goods to the detriment of the local ones, adding that the “only way we would avoid depending on foreign aid for budgetary support is when we import less, or when we patronise local products”, he stressed.
The Acting Executive Director of the Ghana Tourist Board, Mr Martin Mireku, expressed concern about how in spite of the fact that West Africa dominated the production of cocoa world-wide, it had not led in any crucial decision as regards the product, particularly its pricing.
Story by Timothy Gobah