The African Development Bank is supporting the loan, according to reports in Ghana Web and Ghana Business News, which will mark the first such long-term agreement.
It will be a boon to the country’s seven-year plan to transform its biggest industry, said Ghana Cocoa Board CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo.
About a quarter of the money will target swollen shoot disease, an outbreak of which has ravaged Ghana’s cocoa fields this year. The country has reportedly lost 11% of its crop in 2019, with more than 15% of cocoa land infected.
The deadly disease was first discovered in West Africa in the 1930s: its symptoms can take years to appear, but one affected tree can tarnish an entire swath. Severe cases can cut yields by up to 70%, according to a 2014 study in Crop Protection. Scientists have recently signaled that early detection can deter the threat, but an all-encompassing solution remains far off.
Another $80m will help plant new cocoa trees, while $68m will facilitate hand pollination and pruning practices, Aidoo said.
On the production side, $200m will enhance processing and value additions, while $50m will build out warehousing and an electronic farmer database.
By 2027, Ghana should be poised to transition to a 1.5m ton annual capacity.