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UPDATE 1-Ghana Cocobod in talks for $500 mln China EXIM Bank loan

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ACCRA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Ghana's cocoa regulator Cocobod is in talks with Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) to secure a $500 million loan to overhaul the sector and protect against global price volatility, two senior officials said on Wednesday.

Bumper crops have sent global cocoa prices plummeting this year and pushed top producers Ivory Coast and Ghana to step up collaboration with the aim of using their dominant position more effectively to influence the market.

Among the projects to be financed by the Chinese loan are specialised warehouses to stock excess production, the Cocobod officials, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

"The whole idea of going to China was to source for funding for capital projects of medium to long-term. We need to adopt a new marketing system that will insulate us from price instability as we've seen in the past year," one official said.

Cocobod also plans to spend the financing on irrigation to boost yields, on expanding processing facilities and to build roads and railways to make transportation easier.

In addition to the loan negotiations which began last month, Cocobod is in talks with potential partners in China to market semi-processed cocoa products from Ghana. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Joe Bavier and Adrian Croft)