The Ghana Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) and COCOBOD has launched the 2019 national Chocolate Day on the theme, "my chocolate experience”.
This year’s celebration commemorates the 14th year since the inception of the day to promote the local consumption of chocolate. Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, in a speech read on her behalf said the annual celebration has become a phenomenal activity in Ghana since it was introduced some years ago to shift the interest of Valentine’s Day to Chocolate Day as a gift of love.
She said tourism has a lot of gains if well harnessed and can certainly lead to the improvement of the economy and the cocoa industry as a whole. She said it was about time the Day was celebrated in the cocoa growing areas and not only in Accra, for them to experience the Chocolate Day, because without the cocoa farmers the celebration would not be successful.
Mrs Afeku said tourism had employed many people and was an industry found all over the country, so it was everyone’s duty to ensure that they were well harnessed towards the development of Ghana and enhance the standard of living of all.
She expressed appreciation to the sponsors for their support over the years and called for more sponsorship. Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer, COCOBOD, in a speech read on his behalf said the day is mainly to create awareness on chocolate consumption in particular and cocoa in general, and with emphasis on encouraging local processing and consumption of cocoa.
He noted that the past two years’ focused on domestic cocoa consumption, cocoa and chocolate recipe preparations and others, which had made significant impact on the cocoa economy.
He said through the collaborative efforts of players in the cocoa industry in supporting COCOBOD’s cocoa consumption drive, domestic processing of cocoa has hit 300,000 metric tons, representing 19 per cent of national output from the previous figure of about 252,000 tons.
“Currently, local processing of cocoa is 34 per cent of the total volume of annual cocoa output (averaging 900,000mt) an indication that we are making progress,” he said.Mr Aidoo said this year’s theme, “My Chocolate Experience,” is very appropriate, especially for COCOBOD, considering the drive at promoting chocolate and generic consumption of cocoa in Ghana and the rest of the world.”
He said COCOBOD would continue to partner relevant stakeholders to intensify awareness creation on the health and nutritional benefits of Cocoa the main ingredient for making chocolates.
“Cocoa provides most powerful dietary anti-oxidants, reduces blood pressure, delays ageing, fights dental decay, has aphrodisiac properties among others. These reasons make chocolate a healthy food for both the young and old,” he said. Mr Akwesi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Tourism Authority, said the celebration had now focused attention on cocoa and chocolate.
He said Africa produces the bulk of cocoa in the world, but together make only three per cent of the revenue that comes out from it. He said “it beholds on us as we launch this day to work together to promote cocoa. We can serve more cocoa products in our hotels. In our industry, lets focus on serving cocoa products, live what we preach and the cocoa experience should not be a one event that we do every year, but find ways of adding it to the menu in our establishments.
Activities lined up for the day include a digital campaign from February 4 to 14, to create awareness about Day, and to whip up interest among the young and old to share their experiences online through the Ghana Tourism Authority Facebook and Instagram page.
“Like the page, take a picture of yourselves and join any made in Ghana cocoa product, share the experience online on the page chocolateday2019. “Alternatively, you can answer daily questions posted on the Facebook pages with the mychocolateexperience or chocolateday2019.”
On February 9, there would be a health walk, starting from Ayi Mensah Police Station to Aburi Gardens. Other activities include a trip by selected Senior High School students to Tetteh Quarshie memorial farm on February 11, and to the Cocoa Processing company on February 12.
On February 14, the chocolate fun fair would be at the National Theatre, with a quiz competition among students, chocolate recipe demonstration and fun fair. There would also be the chocolate bash at the University of Ghana.