ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast and Ghana will work together to improve the organization and sale of their cocoa, Presidents Alassane Ouattara and Nana Akufo-Addo said on Friday at the end of a summit.
The West African neighbors, the world's two biggest cocoa producers, will also improve coordination between their cocoa sector regulators, the presidents said in a statement after meeting in Ivory Coast's economic capital Abidjan.
Cocoa is vital to the economies of both countries and Ivory Coast has already slashed its 2017 budget due to plummeting global cocoa prices.
The two countries are also seeking African Development Bank funding to develop industries to add value to their cocoa with products such as cocoa paste and cocoa butter, which can be made into chocolate.
"One of the main points of this strategic partnership will be to work between our two countries to organize production," Ivorian President Ouattara told a news conference in the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan.
We need to "put in place commercial structures to transform cocoa into paste and butter so that our economies and our cocoa production is no longer dependent on the fluctuation of external prices," he said.
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; editing by David Clarke)