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03.10.2005 Health

Exploit healthful benefits of cocoa - Regional Minister

By GNA
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Kumasi, Oct. 3, GNA - Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister has asked Ghanaians to exploit the phenomenal healthful benefits of cocoa.

He said there was ample scientific evidence that cocoa was "health food for the 21st century", because its components could help prevent heart diseases and stroke, reduce the effects of ageing, as well as the occurrence of hypertension, diabetes and certain cancers Mr Boafo was speaking at the Ashanti Regional celebration of Cocoa Day in Kumasi at the weekend.

He said information on healthful benefits of cocoa was not new, as there was documentary evidence that about 200 years ago, physicians prescribed cocoa for a variety of ailments.

Apart from a few individuals, who might have unexplained problems, nearly everyone of any age could benefit from consuming a good quality of cocoa product, the Regional Minister said.

"It is absolutely necessary that, as a country that produces the finest cocoa beans in the world, we in Ghana exploit the phenomenal benefits of cocoa".

Mr Boafo said the government was consciously aware of the vital role cocoa industry plays in the country and will employ sound policies to continue promoting it.

He said for instance, the Quality Control Division of COCOBOD, which carries out grading and sealing activities will continue to introduce stringent quality control measures to avoid rejection by overseas buyers and ensure that the impeccable reputation of Ghana's cocoa export was not tarnished. The Regional Minister said the combination of industry; restructuring, technical assistance to farmers and scientific research has served to reinstate Ghana, as one of the world's leading cocoa producers.

Mr Kwame Sarpong, Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in an address read on his behalf by Mr S. E. Bisiw, Ashanti Regional Manager of the Quality Control Division said, the health benefits of cocoa was compelling evidence that should urge Ghanaians to consume cocoa daily for a healthy life. Consuming more cocoa, he said could boost demand for more cocoa beans for processing in the local industries, which would in turn provide more income for cocoa farmers and the country, as a whole, which meant more employment opportunities to the people.

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