The 2019 National Chocolate Day has been held in Accra with a call on the public to make the consumption of locally made cocoa products a daily exercise.
That would not only offer them an opportunity to make the most of the health benefits of cocoa, including improved blood circulation but also contribute to maximising the local processing of cocoa which is produced in the country.
This year's celebration, on the theme: "My Chocolate Experience," was held at the forecourt of the National Theatre yesterday.
The celebration, marked every February 14 to coincide with Valentine’s Day, is targeted at boosting the local consumption of cocoa-based products and to promote local tourism.
It was organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) in collaboration with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC).
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The scores of participants included dignitaries from the GTA, COCOBOD, schoolchildren and stakeholders in the cocoa processing and marketing industry.
The celebration was characterised by performances by cultural troupes, a demonstration on cocoa recipes, exhibition of cocoa-based products among other activities.
Various cocoa products such as chocolate, cookies, soap, pomade and literature on the nutritional benefits of cocoa were displayed by diverse cocoa processing companies and individuals who had pitched camp at the event.
The COCOBOD also presented hampers to some individuals who had, in diverse ways, contributed to promoting the consumption of cocoa-based products in the country.
Mr Benedict Obuobi and Ms Edna Adu-Serwaa, both journalists at the Graphic Communications Group Limited, were among five other persons who emerged winners in the Digital Campaign Competition on the consumption of cocoa introduced by the COCOBOD as part of the 2019 National Chocolate Day.
From left-right: Dr Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, Ms Adelaide Ahwireng, Board Chairperson, Ghana Tourism Authority, and Nana Adwoa Dokua, COCOBOD board member, enjoying cocoa drink during the celebration
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control at COCOBOD, Dr Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, stated that the government’s vision that 50 per cent of cocoa produced in the country should be processed locally could only be achieved if there was a significant increase in the local consumption of cocoa.
He said as of 2018, the annual local consumption of cocoa per person was 0.52kg and described it as inadequate for a country that is recognised as the world’s second largest producer of cocoa.
Dr Dwomoh said an increment in the consumption of cocoa-based products would lead to an increase in demand and supply, which, he added, would have a direct bearing on the rate at which cocoa was processed locally.
“Africa contributes about 70 per cent of global cocoa production but can only account for three per cent of domestic consumption of cocoa products. This cannot be accepted considering the volumes of cocoa beans we produce as a continent,” he contended.
For his part, the CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, urged players in the hospitality industry to lead the campaign on the consumption of cocoa-based products in the country.
He appealed to them to include cocoa recipes on their menus to boost exposure to cocoa-based foods and encourage consumption on the part of their customers.
The Managing Director of the Cocoa Processing Company, Nana Agyenim Boateng, pledged the company’s resolve to continue to add value to the country’s cocoa in a bid to create wealth and employment opportunities for the citizenry.
He, therefore, appealed to the general public to patronise the company’s variety of products to enable it to garner enough revenue and expand its operations.