The governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast recently announced that they have applied to the African Development Bank seeking a loan of $1.2 billion for the development of the cocoa industry in both the countries. The governments claimed to be close to receiving the loan which is meant to be spent on the development of new cocoa processing facilities and factories.
For the uninitiated, the equatorial climate across the regions is ideal for cocoa cultivation and as such only a handful of countries situated on the equator produce cocoa. Ghana and Ivory Coast together produce almost 60% of the global supply of cocoa.
According to The New Times, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Ghana paid a visit to Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara where they both discussed cooperation to help the cocoa industry. Recently there had been a sharp decline in cocoa prices in the global market and the two West African countries had been hit hard when the last nine months witnessed a drop in cocoa prices from $3,000 per ton to $1,900. According to Akoto, Ghana and Ivory Coast will be losing close to $2 billion per year due to the decline in prices.
Ghana Cocoa Board CEO, Joseph Boahen Aidoo has been reported to announce the plea while on a familiarization tour in the northern regions of Ghana and Ashanti, Brong Ahafo. He said that a large chunk of the fund will be earmarked to be spent on the rehabilitation of the industry that can eventually attract the young work force to join the same. The rest of the fund is planned to be spent on domestic cocoa processing in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Aidoo added that $150 million of the loan amount will be set aside to fund six local factories that are about to be set up. A part of the money will also be utilized in increasing viability of the cocoa sector. Evidently, 10,000 hectares of diseased or overaged cocoa trees are expected to be cleared in Ghana and Ivory Coast.