ACCRA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) on Thursday said the West African country plans to double domestic consumption by the end of 2015.
Although Africa accounts for 70 percent of the world's total cocoa production, its cocoa consumption is as low as 3 percent of the total world consumption.
"We (COCOBOD) have therefore initiated the campaign to promote local cocoa consumption, using the health benefits of cocoa," Public Affairs Manager of the COCOBOD Noah Amenya told Xinhua in an interview.
Chief among the health benefits being propagated is cocoa's natural antioxidant defenses against non-communicable diseases such as cancer.
"Research has proven that cocoa contains flavanol which provide multi-benefits to the body, including the production of nitric oxide in the body and this reduces blood pressure and minimizes the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases," according to the COCOBOD's official communication on the campaign.
"With a successful campaign, we would reduce the dependence on the world market for the sale of our cocoa, as there would be enough consumption base here in Ghana," Amenya explained.
The authorities have re-branded the National Cocoa Festival to commence on Sept. 28 to bring together all stakeholders in the coca industry to exhibit their products.
Amenya admitted the high cost caused by low consumption and the fact that not many manufacturers ventured into cocoa products.
"As we begin to consume more, the higher demand would elicit much more investment into production, and the higher supply would drive down prices," he said.
Ghana, the world's No. 2 producer of cocoa after Cote d'Ivoire, had its highest production of 1 million tonnes of cocoa in 2011.