ACCRA (Reuters/Naija247news) – Ghana’s Cocobod is seeking up to $1.5 billion from China’s Eximbank to improve farms and install irrigation systems and other projects, the regulator’s chief executive Joseph Aidoo said on Wednesday.
China will also grant the West African country $35 million to help build a 40,000-tonne state-run cocoa processing plant, Aidoo told reporters at the start of a meeting with a Chinese technical team in the capital Accra.
“We have been in discussions since last year to secure $1.5 billion to finance our plans, mainly to replant diseased and aged trees, build warehouses and cocoa roads to improve farmers’ income, and also to provide irrigations in the face of changing climate conditions,” said Aidoo.
Last year, Cocobod said it had put plans to raise $500 million from the Eximbank on hold in anticipation of a loan from the African Development Bank.
Aidoo said the new processing plant, estimated to cost $60 million, will be built in the western region of Sefwi-Wiawso as part of a wider plan to double locally-processed cocoa production.
Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa exporter after Ivory Coast, produces an average 800,000 tonnes of beans per year, with plans to reach 1 million tonnes by 2020. But the country currently only processes about 250,000 tonnes, Aidoo said.