Mr Ohene Amankwa, the Principal Quality Control Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in the Twifo Atti-Morkwa District, has urged cocoa farmers to consume more cocoa products to enjoy the enormous health benefits.
He said cocoa farmers had long depended on the crop for its economic gains and neglected the enormous health gains of cocoa products to improve their health status.
Mr Amankwa was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Twifo-Praso on the essence of the National Chocolate Week launched in Accra last week.
“Cocoa farmers should not solely rely on the economic value of the golden bean alone but the enormous health benefits as well.”
He said the major benefits of cocoa include anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant qualities, which has positive health effects.
Cocoa products aid in lowering blood pressure, improving the elasticity of blood vessels, circulatory system, maintaining a healthy brain and therapeutic and wound-healing properties in the manufacturing of natural medicinal products.
Consuming cocoa has shown antidepressant-like effects on certain physiological processes that help to enhance mood, combat depression and promote improved cognitive activities during persistent mental exertion.
Cocoa has demonstrated beneficial effects in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells without affecting the growth of normal healthy cells and preventing high-fat diet-induced obesity.
Reflecting on the National Chocolate Week, Mr Amankwa said the event was being organised by the COCOBOD, in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Cocoa Processing Companies (CPC).
The event, which is on the theme: “Eat chocolate, stay healthy and grow Ghana” begins from February 8 to 14, this year.
It’s aimed at promoting the local consumption of chocolate and other cocoa-based products by making chocolate a gift of choice on Valentine day which will span one-week.
It is the brainchild of the late former Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, who introduced the national chocolate day in 2007 to complement the Valentine day celebration.
Mr Amankwa expressed the hope that activities earmarked for this year’s event would help boost cocoa production and chocolate consumption and urged the organisers to sensitise the people about the nutritional value of cocoa products.
He said the government had mounted an ambitious drive to raise local consumption of cocoa and its products.
Meanwhile, residents in the Central Region have expressed concern about the high cost and the lack of chocolate on the market.
They have challenged the COCOBOD to ensure that Chocolate Day was observed amidst affordable and available chocolate products.