Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has assured stakeholders in the cocoa industry of increased Government support for it to reclaim its place of importance in the Ghanaian economy.
Apart from other existing progammes, he stressed the importance of the consumption of cocoa and its derivatives to enhance the crop’s usage and create an expanded market to benefit the economy.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur gave the assurance when he opened the first Ghana Cocoa Festival underway at the Forecourt of the State House in Accra.
The festival runs from September 28 to October 1, 2013, to commemorate the Alliance of Cocoa Producers Day, which falls on October 1.
Aside the mounting of a coca village, the festival is also showcasing different cocoa products, cocoa companies and their range of activities, fertilizers and manufacturing companies, banks, book shops and allied services.
Despite being a leading world producer of cocoa, the per capita consumption of cocoa in Ghana is below that of Africa’s 0.4 per cent.
The festival is, therefore, being organised by the Ghana COCOBOD in collaboration with other stakeholders to draw more attention to the health and economic benefits of cocoa and its products to enhance its consumption among Ghanaians.
The Vice President called for increased use of the crop and its derivatives such as powder, solid, liquid or waste, and urged stakeholders to use the festival as a platform to champion the use of cocoa for increased incomes and sustenance of the economy.
Dr Frank Abu, Board Chairman of the Produce Buying Company, said cocoa continued to play an important role in Ghana’s economy despite the oil find.
Mrs Gifty Akushika Lamptey, Chief Executive Officer of the Sidalco Fertiliser Company, one of the collaborating companies, assisted the Vice President to cut the tape to open the fair.
Among the health benefits of the consumption of cocoa are that it provides a powerful dietary antioxidant, reduces blood pressure, delays physical signs of aging, and minimised discomfort and pain associated with menstruation.
Known as the “Food for the Gods,” the consumption of cocoa also minimises worrisome changes that accompany menopause, has aphrodisiac effect, prevents stroke by improving blood circulation, fights dental decay and stress and provides energy and vitality.
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