Ghanaian government to receive $600m to expand cocoa sector

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ghana has lost 11% of its cocoa crop this year to swollen shoot disease, and $140m of this stimulus will combat that specific issue. Pic: Getty Images/bwack
Ghana has lost 11% of its cocoa crop this year to swollen shoot disease, and $140m of this stimulus will combat that specific issue. Pic: Getty Images/bwack

Related tags: Cocoa, Crop protection, Ghana, Ghana cocoa board, Cocoa sustainability, Price increases, West africa, Technology, Cocoa supply chain, World cocoa foundation

If approved by parliament, Ghana’s COCOBOD will receive funding to nearly double its cocoa production to 1.5m tons.

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.

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