Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, has called for a shift away from the export of cocoa to a focus on local consumption of the beans.
He said current and past governments had worked to ensure a good sale value for cocoa on the international market at the expense of local use.
Professor Owusu said, “We need to consume what we produce. We need to ensure that locally, we consume cocoa. Cocoa has lots of health benefits.”
He was delivering a lecture on the topic: COCOBOD @75: Sustaining Our Environment, Wealth and Health.”
The occasion was also used to launch the 2022 Cocoa Day, which is slated for October 1.
He suggested that cocoa be used more regularly in the preparation of local dishes and called for efforts to develop local cocoa diets that would ensure local consumption of the crop.
Regarding the consumption of chocolate products, he admitted that pricing concerns had largely deterred the citizenry from regularly consuming made-in-Ghana chocolate products, thus accounting for the almost rapt focus on the export of cocoa beans to the processing factories in the West.
He also called for the New Products Unit of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) to be better resourced to bring new approaches to the production and value addition of cocoa in the country.
He emphasized research as key to the development of the cocoa sub-sector and pointed to the development of early and high-yielding, and pest-resistant varieties of the cash crop, which came about due to years of research.