GHANA COCOA Board (COCOBOD) is collaborating with some Fellows of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) to conduct research into components of cocoa which can aid in the management of some life-threatening infections and metabolic diseases globally.

The research forms part of COCOBOD’s programme to increase the usage for cocoa beyond the confectionery and cosmetic industries, and thereby expand the global market for cocoa.

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.

President of the Academy, Emeritus Prof. Samuel Kofi Sefa-Dedeh, strongly welcomed the collaboration. 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 emphasised, “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.

“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 pointed out.

He said 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 infectious 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,” he added.

Mr. Aidoo gave the assurance 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 Mr. 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 which hamper our 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.