Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire appeal for $1.2bn loan from AfDB to add value to cocoa

BY: Severious Kale-Dery

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have jointly appealed to the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a loan facility of $1.2 billion to set up warehouses and establish chocolate manufacturing facilities.

The decision of the two countries is in response to the sharp decline of the price of cocoa on the international market.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic after his return from Ivory Coast where he paid a courtesy call on President Alassane Ouattara.

Dr Akoto was in Cote d’Ivoire for the African Green Revolution Forum on the theme: “Accelerating Africa’s path to prosperity; Growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture,” to showcase Ghana’s agricultural flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, as the latest concept on the continent.

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Decline of cocoa prices

The two discussed the need to strengthen cooperation between the two countries on matters affecting the cocoa industry.

Over the last nine months, cocoa prices on the international market have dropped from around $3,000 per tonne to about $1,900, a situation viewed as a worrying development for the two countries.

Dr Akoto said the decline of the price of the crop was costing the two countries nearly $2 billion a year and that was why the two needed to collaborate to protect their major cash crop, which was cocoa.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto (middle), the Minister of Food and Agriculture, in a handshake with President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire

He said the decision to appeal to the bank was to enable the two countries to add value to the crop and also encourage the consumption of chocolate among the people of the two countries.

Dr Akoto explained that it was also to reduce the overdependence on the international market of the major crop in the two countries.

Joint commission

He hinted that the two countries had jointly set up a commission to address the sharp fall of the prices of cocoa on the international market.

Dr Akoto said the commission was mandated to look at how the two countries traded their cocoa to address the drastic drop of cocoa prices on the international market.

He said he used the opportunity to explain to the Ivorian President Ghana’s latest agricultural drive dubbed, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs.’

“I explained to him the effort that the government of Ghana was making in order to transform the agricultural economy of Ghana and ultimately transform the economy of Ghana permanently to a higher level,” Dr Akoto told the Daily Graphic.