ACCRA, The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has obtained a 1.3 billion US dollars loan from a consortium of international banks to fund its purchases of the crop in the 2017/18 season, which begins next month.
The loan agreement was signed in Paris with 25 banks. The amount is less than the 1.8 billion USD secured for a similar purpose last year.
By this event, Ghanaian cocoa farmers are going to be assured of fair and prompt payment for the fruit of their labour, said Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the COCOBOD chief executive said at Wednesday’s signing ceremony, which also marked the 25th anniversary of Ghana’s engagement in soft commodity financing since it started doing so in the 1991/92 cocoa season.
Aidoo said COCOBOD aimed to buy at least 850,000 tonnes from farmers this coming season, and the loan would facilitate payments to more than 800,000 cocoa-growing households and ancillary industries. The cocoa industry in Ghana accounts for 4.5 per cent of the nations’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 25 per cent of Ghana’s merchandise exports.
Aidoo encouraged the banks to consider a reduction in the interest rate, which is competitive, would enable COCOBOD to access more funds to improve the livelihood of farmers and the economy in general.
He said COCOBOD would seek from the banks a further medium-term financing facility for upstream capital projects such as provision of storage facilities, farm roads and railway infrastructure development, cocoa farm mechanization and programmes for sustainable production and consumption.
Aidoo assured the banks involved in the syndication of COCOBOD’s commitment to meeting its obligations under the loan agreement and would take steps to enhance the assignments, collections and repayment processes associated with the facility.
Lead arrangers for the loan were Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Standard Bank, Natixis, Rabobank, Ghana International Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK