Growing cocoa beans offers small-scale farmers in Uganda and other tropical countries a livelihood from a product that has strong foreign demand and local environmental benefits, according to researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute.
More than 85% of the world's cocoa beans are grown by small-scale family farmers, mainly in West Africa but also in Southeast Asia and Latin America, says Bill Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation, an industry-supported organization based in Virginia.
Consuming cocoa products in moderate amounts can be healthy, too.
Cocoa is great for gifts in place of boxed chocolates.
Stage a promotion showing how cocoa can be a part of a healthy lifestyle by posting results from recent scientific studies.
Low-carb cocoa is an excellent choice for dieting chocolate lovers.
This symposium highlights the surprisingly diverse and positive role that cocoa can potentially play in improving public health and reinvigorating endangered tropical ecosystems," said symposium co-chair Alan Bennett, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis.
Symposium co-chair Helmut Sies, MD, Professor at Heinrich-Heine University in Germany added, "Based on the exciting research findings presented today and published recently in leading scientific journals, we are witnessing an explosion of cocoa science that has the potential to change the lives of people in terms of their health and their ability to impact the environment.
The indigenous Kuna Indians living on a chain of islands near Panama still drink large quantities of a homemade, flavanol-rich cocoa every day.
There's no question that cocoa is a delicious way to warm up during winter, but it's also the perfect complement to summer evenings.
Instead of passing out candy, serve up samples of Mexican hot chocolate or another of your creamy and delicious specialty cocoa products.