GHANA – Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is seeking to expand the use of cocoa beyond the confectionery and cosmetic industries, into the health sector.

The government-controlled institution is collaborating with some fellows of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) to conduct research into components of cocoa that can aid in the management of some life-threatening infections and metabolic diseases globally.

According to healthline, cocoa is rich in polyphenols, naturally occurring antioxidants that aid in reduction of high-blood pressure, lower risk of heart attack and stroke, improve blood flow to brain, have cancer -preventive properties, among other benefits.

In the maiden meeting between the management of COCOBOD, the President of GAAS, and the Fellows involved in the research, the parties acknowledged the need to conduct more studies into the health properties of cocoa.

The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, explained the need to support every claim about the health properties of cocoa with empirical facts.

“Anecdotal reports alone are not sufficient,” he said, adding that, “You cannot just go out there to say that cocoa has health and nutritional benefits when there’s no solid scientific basis or backing for what you are saying. However, if your statement is backed by robust scientific proof, then the world will also buy into it.”

He added that COCOBOD deems it important to establish a lasting collaborative relationship with the national science community.

Global cocoa market is estimated to reach US$15.501 billion by 2027

Research and Markets

“We have to support the science community to delve deeper into the nutritional and health benefits of cocoa and then use the proven benefits to promote the consumption of cocoa, not only for Ghana or the sub-region but for the global community at large,” highlighted Aidoo.

He further indicated that if cocoa is seen as not only an ingredient in the confectionery and cosmetic industries but also appreciated for its broader nutritional and health properties, in particular, it can aid in the management of some life-threatening infections and metabolic diseases.

“I’m very happy and so excited that this novel collaborative approach is being promoted and driven here in Ghana by our own scientists. We are glad to be part of it.”

Mr. Aidoo assured that COCOBOD will play its role to ensure that the collaboration yields adequate results which can withstand scientific scrutiny.

The President of GAAS, Emeritus Prof. Samuel Kofi Sefa-Dedeh, on his part, said he strongly agreed with Hon Aidoo’s statement on the need to have a well-grounded collaboration between industry and the science community to enable the conduct of research and development (R&D) to drive innovation.

Such collaboration, he added, is important to finding solutions to challenges that hamper progress towards industrialisation and the expansion of Ghana’s economy.

He further indicated that the partners should develop timelines and policies to guide the execution of the project.

Finally, the President pledged commitment on the part of GAAS to ensure that this project is conducted to its fullest conclusion to bring urgently needed relief to its people.

The initiative will expand the global market of cocoa, which was valued at US$12.874 billion in 2019, according to Research and Markets.

The market is estimated to reach US$15.501 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 4.3% from 2021 to 2027.

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