Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture has called on entrepreneurs to explore creative ways of presenting or packaging made in Ghana chocolate and cocoa products to make it internationally appealing.
She said made in Ghana chocolate and cocoa products have nutritional and health benefits, and when packaged and promoted in an appealing way can actually drive it to the international market.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi made this observation, on Friday at the celebration of this year’s National Chocolate day, on the theme “My chocolate experience: My holistic wellbeing” in Accra.
She said the celebration which was initiated in 2005, as a way of rebranding Valentine’s Day is to change the widely held perception of promoting promiscuity to the promotion and consumption of made in Ghana chocolate.
She said it was a way of encouraging Ghanaians to patronize Ghana Chocolate and other cocoa products in order to help generate more revenue for National development.
She said since its inception, the increased local patronage of these products has offered employment opportunities to numerous artisanal chocolatiers, cocoa based products processing entrepreneurs among others
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said the theme for this year’s celebration was apt as it speaks to the chocolate experience in its entirety, saying researchers have enumerated benefits of consuming cocoa based products to include delays in physical signs of aging, improved blood circulation, weight management, fighting dental decay among others.
“Aside these health benefits, embarking on a trip to a cocoa farm offers a serene moment to distress, refresh and reorient one’s stress and tensed outlook from the hustle of modern day life. It also affords a very unique learning opportunity as one is exposed to the echo system of cocoa production.”
The Sector Minster indicated that the celebration was in its 15th year and that the ministry celebrate the gains so far and look forward to increased awareness on the positive effects of the consumption of chocolate and also minimize social vices associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day
Nana Agyenim Boateng, Managing Director, Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) said the celebration of this day indicates that they have responded to the call to consume and use cocoa and chocolate products for loved ones.
He said the theme was a call to reminisce and recount the various experience relating to the consumption and or use of cocoa products with special emphasis on health benefits.
He said the mission of CPC was to process cocoa and bring its benefits to consumers nationwide, and they were indeed motivated to do more and give a good listening ear to their numerous and loyal customers and consumers.
“When we talk about added value CPC is providing 650 schools on the school feeding programme with chocolate drinks as a way supporting the children from the basic level so that they get these benefits.”
He urged consumers to continue patronizing and consuming cocoa if they wanted to live long, as cocoa gives better quality of live.
Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer COCOBOD said Ghana was at a center of the world not just by geographical coincidence but also in terms of cocoa.
He said “cocoa was a tropical plant and strives best when it is closer to the center of the earth, where we have zero degrees latitude and longitude and Ghana is closer to these points than any other country in the world.”
“The fact that our cocoa has the highest quality in terms of premium is again not by any accident by natural”, he added
He said cocoa has anti-aging properties and the more cocoa one took the younger one always looks. “Cocoa stimulates the inner lining of your blood vessels enabling it to secrete nitric oxide which is important for the blood and help the vessels to dilate.”
Mr Boahen Aidoo also indicated that cocoa helps children to become intelligent when taken on daily basis and enhances the bone muscle, and prevents diseases. The cocoa seed has over 300 health compounds and everyone ought to take cocoa every day.
“Let us take cocoa, it is here in Ghana. Every food we eat whether we are taking it as a main food, dessert, or appetizer let us add some cocoa component.”
He urged the hotels and restaurants to promote the consumption of cocoa products by adding it to their menu and serving them on daily base. “Let promote it, but we can only do so when we ourselves are taking it at home. Let’s be ambassadors of cocoa products.”