A cocoa value chain analyst, Eliseus Opoku-Boamah, says the time is ripe for a concerted national campaign to demystify the idea that chocolate is a luxury product.
He has, therefore, called for an intensification of the cocoa consumption promotion campaign by Ghana Cocoa Board and its partners to focus on addressing cultural orientation, habits, tastes and developing popular indigenous food recipes that contain cocoa.
He said chocolate and cocoa products must be made affordable for the Ghanaian populace, particularly those within the low-income bracket who stand to benefit from the enormous health and nutritional benefits.
“Initiatives like the National Chocolate Week, Cocoa Day celebration and free cocoa drink program under the school feeding program by the government of Ghana for primary students must be intensified and expanded, possibly to high school and tertiary students.
Research has shown that consuming cocoa products with high cocoa content has health benefits which include the ability to lower blood pressure, prevent the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and aiding weight management,” he said.
The cocoa value chain analyst made these observations in an interview with this reporter on Ghana’s cocoa sector and the 2022 Cocoa Week celebration.
Mr. Opoku-Boamah indicated that citizens need sustained education on the nutritional and health benefits of consuming cocoa products.
“Domestic artisanal processors have not been motivated and incentivized enough to increase local production of cocoa products,” the industry analyst stated.
The value addition and benefits it brings on the economy which includes job creation along the entire cocoa value chain and productivity improvement which will lead to income generation, livelihoods and community development of producers must be enhanced,” he added.
Sharing further thoughts on how to sustain the national cocoa consumption of cocoa in Ghana he indictaed that “we must prioritise the consumption of cocoa products at the national level and at all state functions to replace the sharing of toffees with locally made cocoa products and also institute cocoa breaks instead of coffee breaks.”
“Government must help intensify all government and private initiatives on the need to consume cocoa products”.
This, Opoku-Boamah, noted will bring back the focus, revive the attention and whip up the consumption of cocoa products.
“Government must provide special tax packages to local and artisanal processors of cocoa products so as to increase the production and supply of cocoa products. This may drive the prices of such products down and make it affordable for the ordinary Ghanaian to afford,” he opined.
The 2022 National Cocoa Week celebration was launched at the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm at Mampong Akuapem in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
Weeklong activities commemorating the event span from 8th – 14th February mainly in Accra and Kumasi on the theme: “Eat Chocolate, Stay Healthy, Grow Ghana.”
The programme is designed to promote the consumption of Ghana made chocolate and other cocoa products, as it highlights the nutritional and health benefits of consuming cocoa products and the economic and wealth creation potential for the cocoa industry in Ghana.
Ghana is the second-largest producer of cocoa in the world and according to the Ghana Cocoa Board, Ghana produced north of 1 million metric tonnes of cocoa during the 2020/2021 crop season.
Despite the relative improvement in Ghana’s quest to become a cocoa consumption nation, its current per capita cocoa consumption, which hovers around 0.54 kilogramme, is still nowhere near what exists in Europe and America, the main consumers of Ghana’s cocoa beans.