The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has partnered the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) to develop products from cocoa to aid in the management of some life-threatening infections and metabolic diseases globally.
The partnership will allow some fellows of the GAAS to research into the components of cocoa that can be used to produce the products to manage such infections.
A statement from COCOBOD said the research would form part of COCOBOD’s programme to increase the usage of cocoa beyond the confectionery and cosmetic industries, and thereby expand the global market for cocoa.
“In the maiden meeting among the management of COCOBOD, the President of GAAS, Emeritus Prof. Samuel Kofi Sefa-Dedeh, and the fellows involved in the research via zoom, the parties acknowledged the need to conduct more studies into the health properties of cocoa. The president of the academy strongly welcomed the collaboration,” the statement said.
The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said there was the need to support every claim about the health properties of cocoa with empirical facts as anecdotal reports were not sufficient.
“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,” Mr Aidoo said.
He added that COCOBOD deemed it important to establish a lasting collaborative relationship with the national science community and would give it the fullest support to succeed.
“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,” he said.
Mr Aidoo said if cocoa was 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 could aid in the management of some life-threatening infections and metabolic diseases.
While describing the partnership as novel, the CEO said he was excited that it was being promoted and driven here in Ghana by our own scientists.
Mr Aidoo gave an assurance that COCOBOD would play its role to ensure that the collaboration yielded adequate results that could withstand scientific scrutiny.
Emeritus Prof. Sefa-Dedeh also emphasised the need for a stronger and well-grounded collaboration between industry and the science community to enable the conduct of Research and Development (R&D) to drive innovation.
He said such collaborations were important to find solutions to challenges that hampered the progress towards industrialisation and the expansion of Ghana’s economy.
He added that the partners should develop timelines and policies to guide the execution of the project and also pledged commitment on the part of GAAS to ensure that the project was conducted to its fullest conclusion to bring the urgently needed relief to the people.