Ghanaians Urged To Cherish Cocoa
Catherine Abelema Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, has called on the public to cherish Ghana's cocoa and for that matter chocolate and other cocoa based products.
She said it is important for the public to make it a habit to consume a bar of chocolate and sip cocoa drinks on daily basis in the home, work places and other social gathering as it is loaded with several nutritional benefits.
Mrs Afeku said this at the 2019 National Chocolate Day celebration organized by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), COCOBOD and Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), on Thursday, in Accra.
The event was held under the theme: 'My chocolate experience'.
She said the National Chocolate Day was instituted in 2005, to give a healthy orientation to the celebration of valentine's day and also boost the local consumption of made in Ghana chocolate and promote domestic tourism.
She said the unique event has become part of the tourism calendar of events and also a phenomenal activity in Ghana, fully endorsed by the Ministry, and it has impacted positively in the lives of many Ghanaians.
She said the Day has been set aside to promote the local consumption of chocolate and other cocoa based products and also make chocolate a gift of choice for valentine's day.
'This will inculcate in us the need to patronize and help make the national chocolate day a dream come true.'
Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, in a speech read on his behalf, said the contribution of cocoa to the socio-economic development of Ghana cannot be over emphasized and the foot print of cocoa can be seen in all aspects of our lives as a country.
He said cocoa and chocolate epitomizes the core value of today's celebration, which is love or the symbol of giving, and it was for this reason the then Kuffour administration decided to name the day as Chocolate Day.
He said for over 3000 years cocoa like gold has had a universal appeal and in Ghana, cocoa has impacted the ways in which Ghanaians express their values of love as well as culture and traditions.
'Africa contributes about 70 parents of the global cocoa production but can only account for only 3 percent of local consumption of cocoa products. Ghana's per capital consumption is expected to be around 0.52kg while some European countries boast of between five kilograms and eight kilograms. And this cannot be accepted considering the number of cocoa beans produce as a continent.'
Cocoa is known to have more than 300 chemical identifiable compounds. It is an energy food and contains high levels of fiber, carbohydrates and vitamin A, B, C and D, calcium, phosphate. It has compound with beneficial effect on human health, the ability to provide the overall feeling of wellbeing, reduction in the risk of several diseases.
Mr Boahen Aidoo said COCOBOD based on this has intensified the campaign to promote local consumption of cocoa products to ensure that the citizenry enjoy the health and nutritional benefit of cocoa and also attain a balance market, enhance cocoa farmers profit and guarantee better returns to the rural economy to alleviate poverty.
'Let us reflect on the numerous health problems affecting us as a nation and the huge health bills confronting individuals in particular and the nation as a whole. We can be rest assured that with the little increase in the local consumption of chocolate and other cocoa based products we would not be only contributing to the socio-economic development of the country but also promoting the health of the nation.'
He urged the public to consume cocoa on regular basis, since it would help us embark on an important journey of making Ghana a cocoa production and consuming nation.
Nana Agyenim Boateng, Managing Director CPC, said the CPC has taken up the challenge to support the drive of the President's ambition of the value added and Ghana beyond aid agenda, and introduced new products which would help reduce if not stop the importation of chocolate products.
He expressed delight at the popularity of the National Chocolate Day and the national general acceptance of Ghanaians of the fact that chocolate was the preferred gift to give out on valentine's day.'
The theme for this year's celebration offers the opportunity for consumers to narrate and share their experience about their chocolate consumption.
He said cocoa contains anti-oxidants that help decrease blood pressure, improve blood circulation, lower death rates from heart diseases, defend against destructive molecules called free radicals which trigger cancers, heart diseases and stroke, improves digestion and stimulates the kidney, and also relieves tension.
Nana Boateng said the regular consumption of cocoa and chocolate product leads to the release of nitric oxide which inturn causes reduction of blood pressure. It also helps improve quality of life and reduces the countries health bill.
Mr Akwesi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer GTA said there is the need to have a mind shift starting from the hospitality industry serving cocoa or chocolate products; and as consumption goes on and improves, demand increases as well, investors would find the need to invest in the processing of cocoa.