The open exhibition on the theme: “COCOBOD @ 75: Sustaining our environment, prosperity, and health,” was held in the Eastern Regional town of Suhum.
Ghana Cocoa Day is celebrated every year on October 1 to honour valiant men and women cocoa farmers whose sweat and toil have contributed to the country’s cocoa industry’s long-term viability.
Mr Emmanuel Ray Ankrah, the Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD in charge of Finance and Administration, said the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, underlined the major contribution of cocoa to Ghana’s socio-economic growth.
He expressed worry about how illegal mining was negatively impacting the cocoa industry and jeopardising farmers’ livelihoods.
“In our efforts to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and the fortunes of the industry, we face an unprecedented challenge of illegal mining, which has the potential not only to cripple the cocoa sector but also threaten our basic means of survival as humans.”
He stated that the situation, along with recent calls from global consumers, the European Union, and other trade partners for more environmentally friendly and sustainable farming techniques, has necessitated a more aggressive approach to sustaining cocoa production.
He shed light on how essential minerals present in cocoa beans, such as fat, protein, and antioxidants, could cure or prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insomnia, and body aches, as well as help in the process of slowing down the ageing process.
As a result, he urged Ghanaians to consume local cocoa products, saying, “Let us demonstrate our commitment to this course by serving cocoa drinks at our naming ceremonies, weddings, parties, funerals, state functions, in all social gatherings and homes.”
Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, Eastern Regional Minister, indicated that the government was working to implement policies and programmes that would improve farmers’ social and economic well-being, citing a pension scheme for cocoa growers as one example.
He also praised cocoa farmers for defying all odds to produce “the golden beans” that have helped Ghana’s reputation at the international level for decades.
Osabarima Ayeh Kofi, the Suhum Chief, expressed gratitude to COCOBOD for choosing Suhum as the location for this year’s Cocoa Day celebration.
Several companies and financial institutions, including New OKAFF Industries Limited, a manufacturer of insecticide and anti-snake larva repellent; Agrokhem Limited, a distributor of organic fertilisers and agro-chemical inputs; Access Bank, CAL Bank, and Golden Pod chocolate drink, among others, took part in the cocoa product exhibition.