Ghana is the second world’s largest producer of Cocoa and according to the Ghana Cocoa Board, Ghana produced about 1 million tons 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 0.55 kilogram, is still nowhere near what exists in Europe and America, the main consumers of Ghana’s cocoa beans.
To increase the consumption level of locally 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 of the cocoa value chain, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) have launched the 2022 National Cocoa Week celebration at Mampong in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
The event, on the theme: “Eat Chocolate, Stay Healthy, Grow Ghana”, with the sub-theme: “Our Chocolate, Our Health, Our Wealth”, would be a week-long celebration that started in February 12 and would end on 22, 2022.
Cocoa Value Chain Analyst, Mr. Eliseus Opoku-Boamah said it is time to intensify the promotion of Cocoa from Ghana and increase and sustain the consumption of cocoa products in Ghana by addressing cultural orientation, habits, tastes, and developing food recipes that contain cocoa products in our meals and demystify the idea that chocolate and cocoa product is a luxury product.
He said Chocolate and cocoa products must be made affordable for the ordinary Ghanaian citizen with a low-income level.
“Initiatives like the National Cocoa Day, Cocoa week celebration and free cocoa drink program under the school feeding program by the government of Ghana for primary students must be intensified and expanded possibilities to secondary 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 aids in weight management” he said.
Mr. Opoku-Boamah indicated that citizens need more 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 value addition and benefits it brings to the economy which includes job creation along the entire cocoa value chain and productivity improvement leading to income generation, livelihoods, and community development of producers must be enhanced” he added.
When asked, how can we sustain national cocoa consumption in Ghana and change the narrative?
He answered that we must prioritize the consumption of cocoa products at the national level and at all state functions to replace the sharing of toffees and institute cocoa breaks instead of coffee breaks.
“Government must help intensify all government and private initiatives on the need to consume cocoa products”. This will bring back the focus, revive the attention and whip up the consumption of cocoa products.
The government must provide special tax exemption 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 added.