The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has urged Ghanaians to join efforts at promoting the processing and consumption of cocoa products in the country.
He said increased domestic processing and consumption of cocoa was the surest way to help realise the full potential of the cocoa industry.
Consequently, he said, it behoved every well-meaning Ghanaian to support the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the government to create awareness of the benefits of increased consumption of chocolate and other cocoa-sourced products to the individual and the economy.
The Otumfuo made the call when he received a delegation from COCOBOD, led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, at the Manhyia Palace.
The courtesy call was part of efforts by COCOBOD to court support to promote the processing and consumption of chocolate and cocoa products in celebration of this year’s National Chocolate Week.
This year’s event, which started on February 8, will be climaxed today.
Today has been designated National Chocolate Day, to be marked on the theme: ‘Eat chocolate, stay healthy and grow Ghana’.
It is an initiative of the COCOBOD and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) to create awareness of and sensitise the public to the need to consume more Ghana chocolate and cocoa-based products.
Activities that marked the week-long event included the distribution of chocolate to cocoa farmers and schoolchildren and visits to churches and media houses to preach the need for cocoa consumption.
A temporary Chocolate City was also established in Accra and Kumasi to showcase and sell made-in-Ghana chocolate.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, who said he was a fan of raw cocoa powder, promised to play his role in the promotion of cocoa consumption to enable more Ghanaians to benefit from it, as he could at all times attest to the health and nutritional benefits that came with it.
He said he could attest to the benefits after years of sustained consumption and urged Ghanaians to cultivate the habit to enjoy the benefits as well.
He lauded Mr Aidoo for his performance in the cocoa sector, including the introduction of many productivity enhancement programmes that led to the highest cocoa production last year.
“I was pleased to note that you were able to reach the highest production of cocoa last year, and the humility with which you work and treat people is admirable. Keep it up,” the Asantehene told the COCOBOD CEO.
Mr Aidoo was grateful to Otumfuo Osei Tutu for his patronage of raw cocoa and his decision to encourage others to do so to promote healthy living and support the promotion of cocoa products from Ghana.
He said there were many essential health and nutritional benefits from cocoa, but, unfortunately, not much attention had been paid to them.
He promised to sustain the promotion and make the consumption of chocolate and other cocoa products a part of the Ghanaian culture.
Activities for Chocolate Day
Another activity lined up for today to celebrate the National Chocolate Day is a float through some principal streets of Accra.
It will start at the Accra Tourist Informations Centre on the Independence Highway, through the Kanda Highway through the Obasanjo Highway to link the N4 Highway and end at the Chocolate City temporarily set up near the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.