The governments of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire say they are close to securing a $1.2bn loan from the African Development Bank to boost their cocoa industries.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, chief executive officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), made the announcement to local journalists while on a 10-day familiarization tour of the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and northern regions of the country.
He said $6m of the amount would be earmarked for the rehabilitation of the industry with new programs and schemes to attract more young people into the industry.
The rest will go towards the domestic processing of cocoa beans in both countries.
New cocoa factories
He also said that a new cocoa factory is to be built at Sefwi Wiawso in the western region. Aidoo told journalists that there were six additional local factories that had been pencilled to receive a $150m international loan, for which COCOBOD would provide a matching fund.
“The money will support a number of interventions to make the cocoa sector viable,” he said.
Aidoo also announced the clearing of 10,000 hectares of diseased cocoa trees in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire by the end of this month.
He said that about 40% of cocoa trees were either overage or affected by disease.
Extra measures also include pollination, pruning, early spraying and irrigation of the country’s cocoa farms.
Despite these challenges, Aidoo said he was optimistic that the country’s target to produce 900,000 tons of cocoa for the 2018/2019 crop year would be achieved.