The 2022 National Chocolate Week was launched at Akuapem Mampong in the Eastern Region with a pledge by the various stakeholders to intensify efforts to scale up the local consumption of chocolate and cocoa products.
The weeklong celebrations slated from February 8-14, 2022 is under the theme “Eat chocolate, Stay healthy, Grow Ghana.”
The weeklong celebration is intended to promote the consumption of Made in Ghana chocolate and other cocoa products whilst harnessing the health and economic potential of the cocoa value chain.
Activities lined up for the programme include a health walk, donation, float, cook-off, educational lectures, durbar and exhibition and a movie premiere, among others.
The programme was put together by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
Deputy Minister of Arts, Tourism and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey said his outfit would largely focus on the health and nutritional benefits of chocolate which he described as immense.
He called on Ghanaians to embrace this year’s chocolate week and to take the opportunity to develop a new love for chocolate and cocoa as a way of tapping into the vast economic and health benefits it served.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyemang, entreated stakeholders of the tourism industry to patronize locally made products from cocoa especially soaps made from by-products of cocoa.
He called for increased consumption of Made in Ghana cocoa products as a contribution to growing the country’s burgeoning cocoa value addition sub-industry.
The Vice President of the Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana (COVAAAGH), George Adjei-Bekoe, said its members were committed to working hard to complement the efforts of the existing large-scale processors to increase Ghana’s overall processing level past the 80% mark.
He also stated their commitment to bridge the gap between production and consumption locally.
Mr. Adjei-Bekoe appealed to the Government to create a special purpose fund to boost artisanal cocoa value addition in Ghana as they possessed the potential to expand into the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who launched the event at the Tetteh Quarshie Farm at Mampong-Akuapem said the National Chocolate Week had been instituted to boost the local consumption of chocolate and other cocoa-based products in order to make chocolate not only a gift of choice on valentine’s day but for all occasions.
He said the target was to reach a one-kilogram per capita consumption of cocoa for the medium term in Ghana, despite the relative improvement in local cocoa consumption.
He disclosed that Ghana just moved beyond 0.55 kilogram per capita cocoa consumption of chocolate, and that is nowhere near what existed in Europe and the United States of America where they do not produce cocoa.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah added that the campaign was also intended to drum home the health and nutritional benefits of cocoa which was tremendous if its potential benefits were properly tapped.
In response, Guest of Honour and Paramount Chief of the Akuapem Mampong Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwame Otu Dartey, expressed gratitude to the organisers for launching the programme at Mampong.
He said the benefits of cocoa to the Ghanaian economy was unrivalled and Mampong being the birthplace of cocoa production in Ghana such events are laudable, reiterating their readiness to host more programmes.
He challenged the authorities to invest in repackaging the historic Tetteh Quarshie Farm and Exhibition Centre into a global tour attraction of choice for increased tourist arrivals and revenue generation.
The traditional leader recommended the immediate operationalization of the abandoned Jubilee Farm project which was constructed close to two decades ago.
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