The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts in collaboration with the other institutions has organised an educational forum and exhibition on Cocoa as part of activities lined up for this year?s National Chocolate Day celebration.
The institutions are Ghana Tourism Authority, Ghana COCOBOD, Cocoa Processing Company and the Produce Buying Company.
The theme for this year?s celebration, ?chocolate makes everything better? is aimed at promoting the local consumption of chocolate and cocoa products given its tremendous health benefits.
Madam Dzifa Gomashie, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts in an address said the Ministry initiated the Day in 2007 to promote the local consumption of cocoa made products, bearing in mind the health benefits.
She said the Day was also set aside to package and promote cocoa as an important component of Ghana?s Tourism product for visitors.
Madam Gomashie said the Ministry was overwhelmed with how the county had embraced the positioning of chocolate as the model Valentine?s Day present, saying that, Ghana for 65 years was the world?s leading producer of cocoa.
She noted that similarly, another coordinated national campaign was underway to increase per capita consumption of chocolate in Ghana, to derive the maximum benefit from cocoa, since its contribution to the economy of Ghana was significant in providing jobs in six regions of Ghana and contributing a third of total export earnings.
She said the Ministry planned to promote agro tourism centered on Ghana?s principal cash crop, cocoa. ?We at the Ministry have planned to take this direction to mainstreaming cocoa as part of Ghana?s brand and encourage tour operators to consciously expose visitors to the Ghanaian cocoa and chocolate experience?.
?We wish to encourage COCOBOD and its agencies to consider branded cocoa dispensing outlets at all tourist sites and major areas of human traffic, especially the shopping malls, sports stadia, churches and university campuses, markets, government departments and agencies?.
She indicated also that under the auspices of COCOBOD, a National Cocoa Festival has been instituted, to promote cocoa and chocolate and derive the maximum health and economic benefit from it.
Mr Kwadwo Kissiedu-Kwapong, of COCOBOD, said cocoa has become a universally acclaimed product and has attained a global appeal and is currently influencing most economies across the globe.
He said the National Chocolate Day celebration initiated by government was intended to promote the local consumption of cocoa in its numerous products.
He said cocoa possesses enormous health benefits and it is important to sensitize the public on its health benefits to help improve consumption.
Other activities lined up to climax this year?s chocolate day celebration, includes an Exhibition of Chocolate and Cocoa Based Products, a Demonstration Work-Shops, as well as a Musical Concert at the Accra Mall. In addition, there will also be a tour to the Cocoa Research Institute, Tafo and Bunso Arboretum, on Saturday, February 14.
The National Chocolate Day instituted in 2006 is aimed at promoting the consumption of Ghana Chocolate and Cocoa based products, minimize anti-social vices associated with the celebration of Valentine?s Day, increase awareness on the health benefits of Chocolate and boost domestic tourism.
It said the National Chocolate Day in its ninth (9th) year since its introduction onto the tourism calendar of events, has increased awareness of the positive effect of chocolate.