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04.10.2005 Health

Create awareness on nutritional value of cocoa - RM

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Sunyani, Oct 4, GNA - Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, on Tuesday called for an intensive education to create public awareness about the nutritional and health values of cocoa products. Speaking at the regional launch of the Cocoa Producers Alliance's (COPAL) Cocoa Day celebration in Sunyani, the Regional Minister expressed concern about the low consumption of cocoa products in the country.

He emphasized that the government was determined to revamp the industry through the cocoa spraying exercise and the hi-tech Initiative as well as the increase in scholarships for children of cocoa farmers.

Nana Seinti disclosed that the Region contributed 50,560 metric tonnes out of the national output of 736,000 and expressed the hope that the region would become the leading producer of the product in the country in the near future.

The Regional Minister said the government had voted huge sums of money for the construction and rehabilitation of roads in cocoa growing areas to ensure the easy evacuation of the produce. He stated that the Nobekaw-Sankore-Buako and Bediako-Kasapin Roads, currently at various stages of construction were part of the efforts.

Nana Seinti expressed the hope that the programme would open up cocoa growing areas for more economic activities to improve the standard of living of the people especially the farmers and help to reduce poverty.

Mr. Samuel Addae-Wusu, Regional Manager of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), emphasized the crucial role cocoa played in the economy. He stressed the need for Ghanaians to consume cocoa products but complained about their high cost and urged the processing companies to rationalise their operations to make them affordable. Nana Kwame Benkae, Sunyani Municipal Chief Cocoa Farmer, appealed to the government to provide adequate inputs to support cocoa farmers to improve their activities.

He stressed the need to encourage the unemployed youth to go into cocoa farming to sustain the industry.

Nana Benkae urged cocoa farmers to continue with their activities, "since cocoa is the cornerstone to accelerate national development".