GHANA – Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has said that it expects cocoa production to increase to 1.3 – 1.5 million metric tons within the next three-to-five years as a result of several investments made in the sector, reports GNA.

According to Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board, this will help boost export values and value addition of cocoa into cocoa drinks and chocolates for consumption by school children and the general public.

He said the board is seeking to secure a medium to long-term syndication facility worth $600 Million to embark on a transformation of the entire cocoa industry.

This is expected to be affirmed in December and the cash made available to various projects by February next year.

Such projects would include continuous mass cocoa spraying and extending that to the exercise of pruning and spraying of cashew plantations to shore-up production of the two commodities.

The facility will also be used to buy cocoa beans from farmers as well as rolling out programmes with a goal of boosting production.

The availability of the facility complements management’s strategy to rehabilitate old farms, disease trees and create irrigation systems for cocoa farms as well as timeous application hand pollination, he said.

“The target is to increase production from the current 15 bags per acre to 30 bags, maximizing land for increased yields expecting that in the next three years, and needed the loan to construct warehouses to store the commodity,” said the CEO.

“We are currently processing about 220,000 metric tons.”

COCOBOD is seeking to develop the local processing landscape with a national capacity of 450,000 metric tons, thus need to scale-up and support local entrepreneurs in the commodity value-chain and again expand existing factories.

On the growing demand for cocoa, he said: “Management of COCOBOD is strategically repositioning itself to begin considering planning towards the next 30 – 50 years from now and laying the right tactics towards addressing and achieving both local and foreign expectations.

Two months ago, COCOBOD and Solidaridad West Africa signed aa Memorandum of Understanding to implement initiatives geared towards boosting the cocoa industry.

This included offering technical support for the sector to enhance diversification, alongside cocoa intensification towards boosting the incomes of producers.

As part of initiative to revive the cocoa sector, COCOBOD secured US$600 million credit facility from AfDB to revive the industry and increase national production as well.