ABIDJAN, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast is in talks with Hershey over the construction of a factory for making and marketing semi-finished cocoa products, the government's spokesman said on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.
Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan will travel to the United States between Dec. 18 and 20 to thrash out the details of the partnership with Hershey, the spokesman said.
Ivory Coast is the world's leading cocoa producer, with some 2 million tonnes of beans arriving at its ports each year, but of those only 500,000 are processed into semi-finished products in country. The rest are shipped out raw.
"The goal of this trip is to lay the groundwork for a strategic partnership between this company and our country," government spokesman Bruno Kone said.
"It will enable them to discuss the trade in semi-finished cocoa products, the eventual building of a factory, the struggle against child labour and improving cocoa quality," he said.
Duncan has said in the past that Ivory Coast aimed to process at least half of its supply at home by 2020. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Mark Potter)