Ghana’s cocoa regulator COCOBOD is partnering with the country’s Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) to undertake research to back some anecdotal nutritional and health properties of cocoa.
The work is said to focus on specific components of the crop with the promise to help manage some life-threatening infections and metabolic diseases globally.
Ghana’s MyJoyOnline reported that the research forms part of Ghana Cocoa Board’s programme to increase the usage of cocoa beyond the confectionery and cosmetic industries, and thereby expand the global market for cocoa.
At a maiden meeting between the management of COCOBOD and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science, the parties agreed to the need to conduct more studies into the health properties of cocoa.
The President of GAAS, Emeritus Prof. Samuel Kofi Sefa-Dedeh strongly welcomed the collaboration.
The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, underscored the need to support every claim about the health properties of cocoa with empirical facts, saying, anecdotal reports alone are not sufficient.
“You cannot just go out there to say that cocoa has health and nutritional benefits when there’s no solid scientific basis or backing for what you are saying. However, if your statement is backed by robust scientific proof, then the world will also buy into it,” he emphasized.
Mr Aidoo added that COCOBOD deems it important to establish a lasting collaborative relationship with the national science community.
“We have to support the science community to delve deeper into the nutritional and health benefits of cocoa and then use the proven benefits to promote the consumption of cocoa, not only for Ghana or the sub-region and for the global community at large,” he stated.
He said if cocoa is seen as not only an ingredient in the confectionery and cosmetic industries but also appreciated for its broader nutritional and health properties, in particular, it can aid in the management of some life-threatening infections and metabolic diseases.
“I’m very happy and so excited that this novel collaborative approach is being promoted and driven here in Ghana by our own scientists. We are glad to be part of it,” the COCOBOD boss observed.
Mr. Aidoo gave the assurance that COCOBOD will play its role to ensure that the collaboration yields adequate results which can withstand scientific scrutiny.
The President of GAAS, Emeritus Prof. Samuel Kofi Sefa-Dedeh, supported the need to have a well-grounded collaboration between industry and the science community to enable research and development to drive innovation.
Prof. Sefa-Dedeh maintained that such collaboration is crucial to finding solutions to challenges that hamper the progress towards industrialisation and the expansion of Ghana’s economy.