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General News
Bui dam to be paid with Cocoa? 9/4/2007
Ghana to supply China cocoa under dam funding deal
ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana''s state-run cocoa market regulator Cocobod will supply cocoa direct to China as part of a deal for Beijing to finance a new hydroelectric dam in the West African country, Chief Executive Isaac Osei said on Monday.

"Ghana already has an agreement in relation to the Bui dam to ensure we support our government with 38,000 tonnes," Osei told reporters at a conference in the capital Accra.

"Cocobod is also looking to increase its influence in the China market. China buys 45,000 tonnes of cocoa worldwide, we are going to supply 38,000 tonnes. We want a foothold in that market. That is why we are doing it: 30,000 main crop, 8,000 light crop," he said.

Ghana''s "light crop" beans are smaller than main crop beans harvested during October to May but are favoured by local processors as a result because they are cheaper, meaning light crop beans tend not to be exported.

China is a relatively small market for chocolate and other cocoa-derived products. But its huge population, rising incomes and diversifying consumer tastes have fed industry hopes that cocoa consumption there will grow fast.

Beijing is ploughing money into infrastructure projects in Africa, which is becoming an important source of oil, metals and other commodities to fuel China''s fast-growing economy.

Beijing is funding the majority of the $600 million cost of building the Bui dam through preferential credit facilities.

The dam, with an expected output of 400 MW, is part of an investment programme aimed at ending crippling power cuts that have hampered industry and forced mining companies in Africa''s second biggest gold producer to install their own diesel generators to keep up production.


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