Cocoa For School Feeding Prog — Pres

President-John-Mahama1Pupils benefitting from the Ghana School Feeding Programme would soon enjoy cocoa beverages daily as part of efforts to promote local cocoa consumption, Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper has said.

He disclosed that the Ministry of Education is currently giving serious consideration to including cocoa beverages in school feeding programmes for the overall wellbeing of pupils in the country.

Mr Terkper, who was speaking on behalf of the President, John Dramani Mahama, at the 2013 Cocoa Producers Alliance (COPAL) Day in Accra said apart from consumption in its raw state as cocoa powder, cocoa made a very delicious beverage and chocolate snack for both the young and old.

This year’s COPAL Day, attended by cocoa farmers and various stakeholders in the industry climaxed the Cocoa Festival which began on September 29.

The Minister said the COPAL Day had been set aside to remind the producers of their responsibility, to intensify the education of the public to consume more cocoa and benefit from its enormous health boosting properties.

He said over the years, governments had demonstrated their commitment to develop the cocoa industry by reinvesting a part of the export duty from cocoa in the sector, adding that, backed by the management of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), production had increased to 1.0 million tonnes from 400,000 tonnes.

“The cocoa industry provides direct employment to more than 800,000 farm families and about two million jobs to both Ghanaian and foreign nationals living in Ghana directly and indirectly,” he said.

Mr Terkper said that while government maintained its commitment to the sector, cocoa farmers including sharecroppers, needed to enroll their children in schools because an educated society was the bedrock of development.

The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Anthony Fofie said cocoa cultivation had created jobs, funded schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure.

He said recent scientific studies had shown that cocoa contained active ingredients that fight against disease infections in the body.

“Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, malaria, epilepsy, insomnia, migraine, arthritis and certain cancers should be cured or managed by the regular intake of cocoa,” he said.

Mr Fofie appealed to the public to consume more cocoa to enhance their health and also sustain the cocoa industry.

The Secretary-General of COPAL, Dr Paul Nanga Coulibaly, said although 75 per cent of the world’s cocoa is produced by members of COPAL, only 24 per cent of their produce is consumed in their various countries.

He said although the intake of cocoa products was previously associated with negative health risks, recent scientific studies had proved that there were more benefits in cocoa consumption.

Dr Coulibaly called on the public to develop their cocoa consumption culture for improved well-being.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Julius Debrah called on all to make a national effort to encourage Ghanaians to consume most of the Ghanaian cocoa products instead of those imported. - Lucy Pomaa Arthur

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