CHANGSHA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Central China's Hunan Province on Tuesday opened a cocoa trading center to connect Africa, the world's leading cocoa producer, to China's fast-growing appetite for chocolate.
The African Cocoa Marketing Center, established in Changsha, provincial capital of Hunan, will start by selling cocoa mainly from Ghana before bringing in products from more African countries.
The center has been hailed as the first for African cocoa in China, a rising market for the continent's products from coffee to tea.
"I am confident that every tasty chocolate enjoyed in China has some quantity of Ghana's premium cocoa as part of its ingredients," said Edward Boateng, Ghana's ambassador to China, adding that the West African country is working with the Asian nation to further increase supply.
Xu Xiangping, head of Hunan's commerce department, said the province aims to build a major trading and processing center for Africa's farming products including cashew nuts, coffee, cotton and rubber. The cocoa center is among the first "sub-centers" to be established, Xu said.
Officials and traders say Hunan is at the center of China's sprawling transportation network and close to booming consumer markets across the country, which will facilitate the entry of African commodities.
Changsha on Tuesday hosted a conference to promote trade cooperation between China's Hunan and Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia, and witnessed the inking of several agreements on cocoa import and industrial cooperation.