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02.10.2005 Regional News

Drink Cocoa Daily launched in Eastern Region

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Kade (E/R), Oct. 2, GNA - The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, launched this year's celebration of Cocoa Day, organized by members of the Cocoa Producers Alliance took place at Kade in the Kwaebibrim District of the Eastern Region on Friday. The celebration, themed, "Drink Cocoa Daily for a Healthy Life", was to mark the weeklong meeting of the General Assembly and Council of Ministers' of the Alliance, which is taking place in Ghana between October 1 and 7.

Launching the celebration, Mr Barimah noted the significant role that cocoa has been playing in the national economy for decades, as the leading foreign exchange earner and stressed the need to expand and improve its production to sustain the economy, improve the livelihood of cocoa farmers and provide jobs.

He called on Ghanaians to realize that, consumers of cocoa products were doing so, not only because of its sweetness but also the immense health and medicinal qualities in cocoa.

The Regional Minister, therefore, called on Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of drinking cocoa and consuming other cocoa products to improve their health, saying, it had been scientifically proven that cocoa could help combat heart diseases and diabetes. In an address read on behalf of the Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Mr Kwame Sarpong, the Regional Manager of the Quality Control Unit, Mr Daniel Essien, said scientists had indicated that there was growing evidence that chemicals in cocoa could provide massive medical benefits.

According to him, a regular cup of pure natural cocoa powder beverage would prevent health problems linked with high sugar, kidney damage and heart disease.

Mr Essien denied that the purple bean, which some refer to as "cocoa bese," which some farmers were producing was the result of the mass spraying of cocoa and use of fertilizer, and explained that, it was rather the result of improper fermentation and drying of cocoa beans. He explained that fermentation should be for six days and seven days for drying.

The Kwaebibirem District Chief Executive, Mr Yaw Yiadom Boakye in his welcoming address, said the district was noted for cocoa production and hoped the people in the district, region and the nation would embrace the concept of mass cocoa consumption for good health. The chairman for the function, Barimah Amoah Kuko Ntriakwa II, called for more investors in the processing of cocoa, so that Ghana could give value to its cocoa, earn more income and provide more jobs. He said it was unacceptable for the price of cocoa to be dictated by consumers and not producers and said, if more producer nations would process most of their cocoa for export, they would not be perpetually at the mercy of consumers. Barimah Ntriakwa also called for better incentives for cocoa farmers.

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