COCOBOD takes steps to expose school children to cocoa production

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The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has initiated steps to expose school children to cocoa production in a bid to protect the rich history and sustain the commercial value of the crop.

The overall goal is to encourage the next generation to embrace the culture of planting cocoa as a business irrespective of their chosen profession as they grow.

This, COCOBOD believes this s, could potentially increase the tonnage of Ghana’s cocoa production in the long term if even five per cent of the targeted children show interest in the industry.

Mr William Kwaku Serebour Prempeh, the Ashanti Regional Administrator of COCOBOD, said it was important to introduce children to the important role cocoa played in Ghana’s economy and nurture them to be active participants in the sector.

He was engaging the media after hosting children from the Gentle Steps Academy, a private school, at the Cocoa House in Kumasi, as part of the initiative to bring them closer to their operations.

The initiative was a collaboration between COCOBOD and the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), which also saw children as key consumers of its products.

The children were shown videos of processes that cocoa go through before the beans were finally produced for both the local and international markets.

Departments such as the Seed Production Division (SPD), Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), and the Quality Control Company (QCC) took turns to engage the children on their activities.

They were also taken to a demonstration farm within the premises of COCOBOD to have a feel of the produce and walked them through the various stages of planting, to becoming one of Ghana’s foreign exchange earners.

Mr Prempeh said research had shown that things that children learnt between the ages of six to 10 formed their mind-set as they grew, hence the decision to target the young ones within that age bracket with the cocoa orientation.

“It is for this reason that we are taking deliberate steps to engage children to show keen interest in cocoa production so that they can appreciate the importance of cocoa and possibly take up cocoa farming as a business when they become adults,” the Regional Administrator said.

He said cocoa was the only export commodity that the country had absolute control over unlike others in which foreigners could invest and repatriate a chunk of the proceeds to their own countries.

He underlined the need for all stakeholders to join hands in promoting the planting, consumption, and marketing of cocoa to help build a strong economy for the benefit of the general population.

Mr Alfred Mensah, the Ashanti North Area Head of Cocoa Processing Company, said cocoa beans contained enormous nutritional benefits, but it was unfortunate majority of the consumers were not the producers of the commodity.

He said the role of CPC in the value chain was to process some of the beans into various products for both the domestic and international markets.

The consumption of cocoa products domestically, he noted, had increased over the past few years with the introduction of the Chocolate Day and that the CPC was working hard to meet the local demand.
GNA

By Yussif Ibrahim, GNA

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