The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) together with other stakeholders in the tourism industry yesterday marked this year’s National Chocolate Day with a call on Ghanaians to patronise cocoa and cocoa products.
The day was instituted in 2005 to promote consumption of chocolate on Valentine’s Day and change the widely held perception of the promotion of immoral conducts among the youth.
Speaking at the ceremony the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi said the celebration of the National Chocolate Day had increased awareness on the consumption of the product.
She said the increase in patronage offered opportunities to artisanal cocoa makers to provide employment and generate revenue for the country.
She encouraged Ghanaians to patronise made in Ghana chocolate and present it to their loved ones on special occasions.
She urged cocoa products entrepreneurs to explore more ways of presenting cocoa products in a manner that would appeal to both local and international consumers and to make it easy to penetrate the international markets.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said this year’s celebration was in memory of Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, who was the brain behind celebrating chocolate every February 14.
She said the Chocolate Day was initiated 15 years ago by the late Jake Okanta Obetsebi- Lamptey on Valentine’s Day to curb promiscuity among the youth.
The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo encouraged restaurants and hotels to promote cocoa products on their menu.
He said cocoa had a lot of health benefits for both the young and the old saying that “it protects the body against diseases such as cancer, diabetes and other common ailments.”
He said cocoa has antioxidants that protect the heart, skin and other organs of the body to promote good health and impressed on events organisers to insist cocoa products were added to the menu.
On his part, the Chief Executive officer of GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyeman called on the hospitality industry to promote cocoa products in order to have more consumption among Ghanaians and foreigners.
A citation in honour of the late Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey was presented to his wife who was present at the occasion while the Managing Director of Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Mr Nana Agyenim Boateng promised a one year supply of cocoa products to her.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU