GHANA – Ghana and Ivory Coast are seeking a joint US$1.2 billion loan facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to establish warehouses and set up chocolate manufacturing facilities, a senior Ghanaian government official has said.

The plea is in response to the sharp decline of the price of cocoa on the world market, the Minister of Food and Agriculture Owusu Afriyie Akoto told the state-run Daily Graphic after returning from Ivory Coast, where he paid a courtesy call on President Alassane Ouattara.

They discussed stronger cooperation between the two West African countries on matters affecting the cocoa industry.

Cocoa prices on the international market have dropped over the last nine months from around $3,000 a tonne to about $1,900.

Akoto said the drop in cocoa prices was costing Ghana and Ivory Coast $2 billion yearly.

He said the decision to appeal to the AfDB was to enable the world’s two major cocoa producers to add value to the crop, encourage local consumption of chocolate, and reduce overdependence on the global market.