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General News Mon, 1 Sep 2008

Consumption of cocoa can reduce ailments

Accra, Sept. 1, GNA - Mr Isaac Osei, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Cocoa Board, on Monday reiterated that the regular consumption of cocoa by the public had the potential of reducing a number of ailments.

"Contemporary scientific findings have indicated beyond doubt that regular consumption of cocoa can help reduce the risk of hypertension, heart attack and stroke. It also helps to improve arterial tolerance to stress, cuts diabetes risk, rejuvenates ageing body and stabilizes mood."

He therefore appealed to the media to assist the Board in its campaign in promoting regular consumption among the Ghanaian populace. Mr Osei, who made the appeal at the launch of this year's Cocoa Producers Alliance (COPAL) Cocoa Day celebration which is to be held at Dunkwa-On-Offin, in the Central Region on October 1, also encouraged other prospective investors to process more cocoa for local consumption to make the board's campaign on local consumption meaningful. The theme for the celebration is: "Consume more cocoa for good health." The day is set aside by COPAL of which Ghana is also an active member. Other countries include Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Togo.

Mr Osei noted that the per capita consumption of cocoa in the country was 0.5 kilogrammes and the board expected that this year's celebration would help move it to a medium term target of 1.0 kilogramme.

The Chief Executive Officer said the popularity of cocoa drink had spread quickly throughout Europe several years ago but in the Ghana it was only popularized recently.

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"I believe, however, that it is better late than ever," added. He said the board was also embarking on a number of drives to help boost the consumption of cocoa saying it intended to commence its campaign among children.

"We hope that very soon in the National School Feeding programme every child would drink a cup of every morning."

Mr Osei said the board also hoped to set up yield enhancement schemes to ensure an increase in production of cocoa beans to from 670,000 tonnes to one million tonnes by 2010.

"We also hope to invest in logistics and quality assurance to propel the cocoa industry," he added.

According to him the board by the end of this year would also be the first among COPAL to be issuing "Certificates of Analysis" to check chemical residue in order to meet European Union Standards. The Chief Executive Officer said very soon a six million-dollar jute factory by Gangies Manufacturing Company from India would be established in Kumasi.

Source: GNA
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