Storytelling has been a big part of the Ghanaian culture for centuries now. In 2021 when the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo told the country about his chocolate experience during the National Chocolate Week celebrations, that singular act sparked conversations that led to a chain of storytelling about cocoa across the country.
For many Ghanaians, the stories brought nostalgic memories of days when families would share chocolate only on special occasions like Christmas and birthdays. It is this occasional consumption that the organizers of the National Chocolate Week celebrations sought to change in 2021 with a campaign themed “Eat Chocolate, Stay Healthy, Grow Ghana!”
For a delicacy that has been tagged as a confectionery for the rich, this was not going to be a walk in the park. In came Kofi Kinata and Amerado Burner, two young music artists whose music appeals to the young and old alike. With lyrics alongside catchy beats, they introduced Ghanaians to the health benefits of consuming cocoa and drummed home the economic benefits of processing and consuming our cocoa right here in Ghana.
This came as a big boost for local cocoa processors, especially artisanal chocolatiers whose products are relatively unknown to the mass market. With installations at some shopping centres and transport terminals in some regions across the country, they set up display and sales points through the facilitation of the Ghana Cocoa Board.
Bringing their products to centres where potential consumers could easily access was a mark of genius as many Ghanaians through that, discovered some of the numerous emerging chocolate and cocoa product brands in the country.
With visits to cocoa growing areas in the Brong, Ahafo and Western regions, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo spent time with cocoa farmers at various durbars where he shared with them, various cocoa products as they discussed the future of the cocoa industry.
Simultaneously, a team from Ghana Cocoa Board, Ghana Tourism Authority and some cocoa processors and chocolatiers embarked on a nationwide media campaign to drive the cocoa consumption agenda. Not to be left out, some major financial institutions partnered with Ghana Cocoa Board to bring the taste of chocolate to their customers as appreciation for their loyalty to their brand. As a surprise to the bank customers, Ghana Cocoa Board facilitated the presence of singer, Kofi Kinata at selected branches of some banks including the Agricultural Development Bank, Absa and Prudential Bank. This whipped up more excitement and sparked further conversations about Ghana’s chocolate in both traditional and new media.
With short messaging services, Ghana Cocoa Board sustained the discussions by sending out information about Ghana’s cocoa and activities of the Chocolate Week celebrations, to selected key influencers to drive interest in the cocoa consumption campaign.
Social media went alive with tweets, posts, and comments along with pictures and videos of people enjoying cocoa products or giving out cocoa products as gifts for loved ones. For once, the conversations online during the Valentine season was dominated by Ghana’s cocoa and chocolates.
One of the biggest draws to the Chocolate Week Celebrations was the set-up of a Chocolate City at the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout in Accra. The Chocolate City, which was a dome set up to give visitors the ultimate chocolate experience welcomed visitors with a cocoa-farm inspired ambience from the entrance to internal décor inspired by the cocoa pod and its various by-products.
At the Chocolate City was an exhibition of various products made out of Ghana’s premium cocoa. The exhibits were eye-opening to many visitors who discovered that food spices could be made from cocoa. Soaps, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics and confectionaries made with cocoa were on display and also for purchase.
Every day at the Chocolate City was an experience of Cocoa Heaven for visitors. With surprise cocoa products giveaways, live band performances, treasure hunts, University Alumni Quiz competition, family day and many other activities, visitors were highly entertained while enjoying the taste of Ghana’s cocoa products.
The 2021 National Chocolate Week celebration, was indeed, a huge success with every single participant yearning to experience the 2022 edition.
Well, the wait hasn’t been too long. We are here again with another edition, this time mega and bigger with two Chocolate Cities that can best be described as “Everything Cocoa”, running concurrently at the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange in Accra and the Jubilee Park in Kumasi.
Fellow Ghanaians Tuesday 8th to Monday 14th February 2022 promise to be something else. Let us patronize our own. From Chocolate Bar to Beverage, cosmetics to pharmaceuticals, cocoa is one in all. Visit the chocolate cities, buy, consume and share cocoa products with families, friends and loved ones.
Let us not forget that in doing that we are helping to build a healthy and wealthy Ghana.
2022 Chocolate Week Celebrations – Let’s all Eat Chocolate, Stay Healthy and Grow Ghana.