Thousands of Ghanaians gathered at the China-built National Theater on Thursday to take part in the country’s National Chocolate Day commemoration to drum up support for chocolate and cocoa consumption among THE citizenry.
This, stakeholders argue, will not only help the country create a local consumption base for cocoa and cocoa products but will also help Ghanaians derive the immense health benefits from cocoa consumption.
The day is annually marked on February 14 as Ghana’s cocoa industry seeks to take advantage of the celebrations and exchange of gifts that go with Valentine Day to patronize cocoa products.
“It is extremely important for all Ghanaians to cherish our cocoa and, for that matter, chocolate and other cocoa-based products by consuming a bar of chocolate a day, Catherine Afeku, Minister for Tourism, stated in her message at the national celebration.
She added: “Cocoa drink on daily basis. This, I believe, will inculcate in us the need to patronize and help make the national chocolate day a dream come true.”
This year’s celebration commemorated the 14th year since the inception of the day by Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer.
The annual celebration has become a phenomenal activity in Ghana since it was introduced to promote chocolate as the gift of love.
It also seeks to minimize anti-social vices associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
As part of events lined up to observe the day, an exhibition of cocoa-based products, alongside the chef’s culinary, was held at the National Theater.
“I wish to urge each and every Ghanaian to patronize our made-in-Ghana chocolate and, especially use chocolate as a gift of love to our friends, families and our loved ones during the national chocolate day celebration,” the minister added.
With an annual production averaging around 900,000 metric tons, Ghana’s economy has depended on cocoa for over 100 years but citizens have very low cocoa consumption habit.
The annual event was organized by the Ghana Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and other industry players with exhibitions mounted where various cocoa products were on display.
There were varieties of chocolate drinks, bars of chocolate with various local flavors, and cookies for Ghanaians to savor.
There were also soap, pomade and alcoholic beverages made from cocoa with accompanying literature on the nutritional and other benefits of cocoa.
“Africa contributes about 70 percent of the world’s cocoa production but can only account for three per cent of domestic consumption of cocoa products, said Emmanuel Agemang Dwomoh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (D-CEO) of COCOBOD.
He called for a paradigm shift where Africans will enjoy the products of their own crop for which thousands of farmers toil annually.
Nana Agyenim Boateng, Managing Director of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Ghana’s state-owned grinder, expressed delight at the growing acceptance of cocoa by Ghanaians as the preferred gift of love.
Agyenim Boateng said he theme for this year’s celebration – “My Chocolate Experience” – offered opportunities for consumers to narrate and share the experience about their chocolate consumption. Enditem