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Government lauded for introducing COCOA DRINK in School Feeding to boost cocoa consumption


Date: Thursday August 15, 2019, 9:50 am


By: WatchGhana.Com


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stakeholders at cocoa drinks project validation meeting

Stakeholders at a day’s validation meeting in Accra have lauded Government of Ghana for the planned introduction of Cocoa Drinks in the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) to improve the health of the children and promote the consumption of Ghana’s cocoa.

 The stakeholders included; ministries of Education, Health, Agriculture, Finance, Local Government and Rural Development; Gender, Children and Social Protection. Others include Ghana Cocoa Board, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Health Service, University of Ghana Nutrition and Food Science Department and Food and Agriculture Organization and the media among others.

The government through the Ghana School Feeding Programme under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is set to officially launch the Cocoa Drinks project in September 2019.

The project which will be piloted in all schools in cocoa growing districts in selected regions of Ghana is targeting at least one million school children at the piloting stage and close to six million (6million) pupils when fully implemented.

The Ghana Cocoa Board is the main financier of the GSFP cocoa drinks project.

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Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah, Acting National Coordinator, GSFP

At a day’s stakeholders’ validation meeting in Accra organized by the Ghana School Feeding Programme and Ghana Cocoa Board, the participants described the project as very laudable and appreciated the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his commitment towards the development of education in Ghana.  

Government, in an effort to add value to cocoa beans and reduce the quantity of raw beans exported to the world market, has resolved to ensure that at least 50% of Ghana’s annual cocoa produce is processed, packaged, consumed locally and exported to other international markets.

Addressing the stakeholders, the Acting National Coordinator of GSFP, Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah commended the government particularly President Akufo-Addo for the initiative to boost the health of the pupils.

She was optimistic that the stakeholders and the project team would come out with dispassionate suggestions and ideas to practical enough to ensure the smooth implementation and sustainability of the cocoa drink project.

Mrs. Quashigah noted that the overall objective of cocoa drinks initiative was to inculcate the habit of cocoa consumption in basic school pupils in Ghana; and by extension to help promote school enrolment, attendance and retention; promote pupils’ academic performance at school; reduce hunger and malnutrition; and contribute to increase cocoa production.She revealed that it was in the plans of the Government and management of GSFP to provide about 60% of the cocoa drinks to deprived public schools that are not currently enjoying the school feeding programme meals so that the feeding programme could cover more pupils.

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In a PowerPoint presentation, the Project Team Leader and Programme Officer in charge of Agriculture at the GSFP, Mr. Seth Offei outlined some of the health benefits of cocoa consumption.

He said “cocoa is a stress reliever, improves blood flow to the brain and boosts brain function, helps reduce the growth of plaque and prevents tooth decay in children and adults, contains a high percentage of antioxidant, which improves kids’ cardiovascular health”.

Mr. Offei noted that, cocoa is also known to improve memory and concentration by activating the flavonoids in the hippocampus.

He disclosed that the project seeks to provide a cup of cocoa drink to all Kindergarten, Primary and Junior High School pupils in Ghana on every other school-going day i.e. 3-times per week preferably Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“Pupils in basic schools are in their formative years, and giving them cocoa drink every other day will help them develop lasting taste for it. This will, in the long run, create market for cocoa products in Ghana,” he observed.

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Mr. Seth Offei, Cocoa Project team leader/Agric officer, GSFP

The stakeholders successfully affirm modalities put in place by Cocoa Drinks Project Team including agreed packaging models, school selection criteria, waste management etc.

 

Source: WatchGhana.Com

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Author: WatchGhana.Com    Verified

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