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Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is seeking to increase local processing of cocoa beans by creating high demand and consumption of cocoa products within the country, starting with the National Chocolate Week from 8th – 14th February 2021.
Speaking at the launch of Accra-based Asaase Radio’s Chocolate Month Programme on Monday, Senior Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Mr. Fiifi Boafo said National Chocolate Week, which begins with an official launch by Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Thursday, February 4 is expected to spark the interest of Ghanaians to indulge in the mouth-watering products derived from Ghana’s cocoa.
Mr. Boafo, however, expressed regret that a large percentage of the finished cocoa products on the Ghanaian market are produced outside the country. He said this is because local processing is largely done at the primary level which includes conversion of the cocoa beans into cocoa butter and liqueur rather than finished products.
He explained that the processing has been at the primary stage for years because local demand for finished cocoa products has been low.
He admitted that great strides have been made over the past four years, adding that policies introduced by the government within the period have led to an increase in local processing from 26% to 40%.
He hinted that government is due to announce a major programme in the coming days, in support of local processing companies to further boost local processing.
“We have the cocoa beans and the technology but the market for the finished product is just not encouraging. It’s not just the processing we want to focus on. We want to create a local demand that will spur on investors to get into local processing of finished cocoa products.
Mr. Boafo added that to boost demand, the health benefits of chocolate which he described as enormous, must be communicated to Ghanaians. In this regard, he commended Asaase radio for dedicating the month of February to promoting cocoa processing and consumption in the country through a series of programmes designed for that purpose.
The Head of Communications at Asaase Radio, Mrs. Naomi Nelson-Barnes said the station is dedicated to helping build the local economy through support for indigenous production, hence the decision to support local processing and consumption of cocoa products.
She said the station will go beyond the usual Valentine’s Day activities to running a month-long campaign to support local businesses in cocoa production and to encourage consumption.
This year’s celebration of National Chocolate Week is expected to be the biggest yet following an agreement between Ghana Cocoa Board and some major organizations including media and financial institutions to support the drive to build a strong local market for finished cocoa products.
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