The plant, estimated to cost $60m (the Ghanaian government pays the rest), is expected to process 40,000 tons of cocoa beans annually, and it will be located in the country’s western region of Sefwi Wiawso, said Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO of Cocobod.
He said the factory “will run through the entire course of producing butter, cake, liquor, and chocolate bars.”
“The conception of the new plant was timely and will further support the vision of the current government to transform Ghana into an industrialized nation,” added Aidoo.
However, no more details regarding the process of building the site were disclosed.
Meanwhile, a group of Chinese experts will collaborate with Cocobod’s management team to carry out a feasibility study on the project, according to Chinese Economic and Commercial Counsellor Chai Zhijiing.
“There are a lot of technical details involved in building a factory which will be the basis for the final decision by the Chinese government,” he said in a statement published on China’s state media Xinhua.
Additionally, if Cocobod successfully secures the extra $1.5bn from the Chinese bank, it hopes to rehabilitate diseased cocoa trees, provide irrigation and build warehouses to improve farmers’ income, said Aidoo.
Bye, Europe and America; hello, Asia?
Ghana has eyed Asia as its new cocoa consumption market due to the volatility of the global cocoa prices.
“The conventional cocoa market in Europe and America has become stagnant but there is a new consumption pattern emerging in Asia, especially in China which we seek to explore,” said Aidoo.
China is one of the top export and import partners of Ghana, according to World Integrated Trade Solution data.
In 2016, Ghana exported $942m worth of products in total to China, compared to $1.43bn to United Arab Emirates, $1.56bn to India, and $1.87bn to Switzerland.
Additionally, China was Ghana’s largest exporter in the same year, pumping $1.97bn back to the African nation.