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A SWEET LEGACY: CELEBRATING COCOA DAY

Date: 31st July 2023

As the second-largest producer of cocoa in the world, Ghana has consistently maintained its deep-rooted connection with the crop for over 140 years after the commercial cultivation of the golden pod began in the country.

The crop has since become an integral part of the country's economic transformational agenda, contributing significantly towards enhancing the livelihoods of millions of Ghanaians through investments in the social and economic infrastructures of the country.

Behind the importance of cocoa are various actors whose diverse contributions have sustained Ghana's economy over the years. To recognise these ‘captains', particularly farmers, the regulators of the cocoa sector considered it appropriate to dedicate a day to honour them, hence the Cocoa Day.

Ghana held its first “Cocoa Day” on 1st October 2005, within the framework of the erstwhile Cocoa Producers’ Alliance (COPAL). This development set in motion a collective resolve to celebrate “Cocoa Day” in all COPAL states and by extension, International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) member countries.

Under the auspices of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), every 1st October is observed as Cocoa Day with a series of activities which focus primarily on rallying the support of stakeholders within the cocoa industry to commit to investing in cocoa value addition, and to encourage the citizenry to consume cocoa for its nutritional and health benefits.

COCOBOD’s continuous marking of Cocoa Day annually, with farmers at the heart of the celebration, has invariably acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the country's illustrious farmers in a bid to appreciate them for their roles in sustaining Ghana’s cocoa production.

As a tradition, the celebration kicks off with a float through selected streets of the host town to create awareness among the inhabitants. Staff of COCOBOD and other members of cocoa-farming communities participate in the procession, adding to the lively atmosphere. The float normally terminates at the event grounds to an exhibition by farm input suppliers, service providers and various partners along the value chain.

During the celebration, emphasis is placed on educating farmers on new policies and programmes of COCOBOD. Usually, a farmer-based forum is held to sensitise farmers about new techniques and advancements in cocoa production. These informative sessions aim to enhance farm productivity and promote the adoption of environmentally friendly practices to ensure the maintenance of high-quality standards in the Ghanaian cocoa industry.

In addition to this, COCOBOD uses this opportunity to educate Ghanaians on the health benefits of raw cocoa consumption for a healthy life. Cocoa is known to contain antioxidants which can help to improve heart health and boost mood among other benefits. To stress this, there are health talks which are held across churches, mosques, and markets in the host town. All these come together to spice up endeavours to stimulate cocoa consumption in order to support efforts at increasing the per capita consumption of cocoa in the country.

This year’s Cocoa Day is being observed under the theme “Making Ghana the Leading Country in Sustainable Cocoa” at Asante Bekwai in the Ashanti Region. A grand durbar of chiefs, farmers and stakeholders has been slated for 2nd October 2023 to crown the celebration.

The celebration of Cocoa Day every year goes beyond the fun and excitement to a constant reminder of the vital role of cocoa as Ghana's identity and heritage, a global source of pride and a stimulator of economic growth. Let us come together to celebrate the sweet legacy of cocoa and appreciate the hard work of the millions of value chain players whose unparalleled efforts have kept the wheels of the cocoa industry on a path of resilience and prosperity.

Happy Cocoa Day!
Agnes Annoh (Mrs.)
Public Affairs Department, Ghana Cocoa Board.

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