Ghana and China are working to establish a US$60 million Cocoa Processing Factory as part of plans to increase local processing of cocoa and boost consumption, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, said on Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with a team from China, Mr Aidoo said the factory, which would be sited at Sefwi-Wiaso in the Western Region, was a partnership between the Chinese and the Ghana governments.
He said China was awarding a grant of US$35 million towards the building of the 40,000 tonnes factory while Ghana would match it with US$25 million.
An eight-member team from China is currently in the country to conduct feasibility studies at the site in Sefwi Wiaso.
“The establishment of the factory is very significant as there is a rising consumption pattern of chocolate in the Asian countries, particularly India and China,” Mr Aidoo said.
He said it had been Cocobod’s objective to enter the Asian market, focusing essentially on China.
“So the acceptance of the Chinese Government to partner with Ghana government to put up this factory actually is a major step in realizing our objective and our vision of expanding the scope of consumption of cocoa and also in the realisation of the President’s vision that in the next four to five years Ghana should be able to process not less than fifty percent of our cocoa beans here in Ghana,” he said.
Mr Aidoo said the proposed factory would run through from production of butter, liquor and down to the tertiary level, which was the production of chocolate.
Ghana currently has 450,000 metric tonnes installed capacity but only about 250,000 metric tonnes is being processed.
“We envisage to improve on the productivity of cocoa in Ghana and in the anticipation of likely increase of production, we will certainly need more factories and the Sefwi-Wiaso factory is very timely,” Mr Aidoo said.
He said the next step in the project would depend on the outcome of the feasibility studies, adding that the site for the project had been secured.
Meanwhile Cocobod is seeking US$1.5 billion from China’s Eximbank to rehabilitate aged farms and install irrigation systems and other projects.
Mr Chai Zhijing, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Chinese Embassy, said the team undertaking the feasibility study would work out the details for the Chinese Government.