Ghanaians have been advised to consume more cocoa for a healthier life since it has immense health benefits.
A Deputy Public Affairs Manager at Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Ms. Jane A Yeboah, gave the advice at a farmers rally organized by the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) at Ntotroso in the Bechem District, Brong Ahafo Region.
The forum was to sensitize farmers on the new policies and programmes for sustainable cocoa production.
Ms. Yeboah said research had shown that cocoa contains anti-oxidants and flavonoids which enhance blood circulation, controlled blood pressure, minimizes worrisome changes associated with ageing, menopause and menstruation, and promotes energy and vitality, among others.
She, therefore, called on Ghanaians to make cocoa consumption a daily habit.
Ms. Yeboah appealed to traditional authorities and land owners to release lands to the youth for cocoa farming to improve their livelihoods.
“Cocoa is a lucrative business and the youth should embrace it,” she said.
She said as part of efforts to boost cocoa production in Ghana, COCOBOD was putting in place strategies to ensure that a greater percentage of cocoa produced in the country was processed locally to create jobs for the youth and to promote local consumption.
On his part, the Brong Ahafo Regional Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), Dr. Nii Tackie Otoo urged farmers to be vigilant at the point of sale of their produce so weighing scales were not adjusted by purchasing clerks, as some farmers have complained.
He condemned such acts and urged farmers to report such activities to the law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Samuel Asare Ankamah, the Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Manager of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), added that some of the new policies and programmes that have been introduced by government to boost cocoa production included irrigation, hand pollination and payment of farmer compensation for rehabilitated cocoa farms.
He mentioned that COCOBOD has recruited and trained over 10,000 workers across the country, who will help pollinate cocoa farms, with each tree expected to bear at least 100 to 150 pods.
He said COCOBOD would also provide improved cocoa seedlings and shade trees free of charge to cocoa farmers who will cut down their aged and diseased farms for replanting.
Nana Appiah Acheampong, a Bechem District Cocoa Farmer on his part, commended COCOBOD and Government for introducing policies and programmes aimed at ensuring sustainable cocoa production and called on the farmers to support the government.