The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it is working towards providing support to cocoa producers in the continent in order to turn around their fortunes.
A statement by Mr Emeka Anuforo, AfDB’s Communication Officer on Wednesday said the bank was also considering support to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to reduce the volatility of the international prices of cocoa.
Côte d’Ivoire leads the world in the production and export of cocoa.
He said that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire were at the final stages of discussions for AfDB support as a final deal was expected to be announced in the days to come.
Anuforo said that following high-level meetings between the governments of both countries and the AfDB President, some key agreements had already been made.
“The Bank has agreed to assist the countries to establish a Cocoa Market Stabilisation Fund and a Cocoa Exchange Commission for the management of production.
“The AfDB has also agreed to work with them to establish a Cocoa Industrialisation Fund to further grow the cocoa industry.
“The Fund will help in developing the regional markets for by-products and domestic processing for targeted African regional markets. The overall objective is to stimulate and expand consumption.
“In line with this, the two countries have jointly requested for 1.2 billion dollars for mutually identified projects: to tackle the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease; build storage and warehousing facilities; promote processing and consumptions; establish the Africa cocoa exchange; and to establish the stabilisation fund,’’ he stated
Anuforo said that the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, who paid a three-day visit to Ghana from August 1 to August 3, stressed the Bank’s commitment to improving cocoa production in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
He said that Adesina stressed that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire produce 64 per cent of the world’s cocoa yet they played no role in controlling the market.
“AfDB has received a request for 1.2 billion dollars from Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture and from the Cocoa and Coffee Board of Côte d’Ivoire.
“We are looking at building warehouses so you can store the cocoa and not have to sell immediately after harvest.
“Part of the loan will also finance the construction of modern storage facilities, farm rehabilitation and disease control, including compensation to owners of cocoa trees ravaged by swollen-shoot viral disease, the statement quoted Adesina as saying.