COCOBOD secures $1.8 billion for cocoa purchases

By
Kodjo Adams, GNA

Accra, Sept. 21, GNA
– The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has secured a $1.8 billion syndicated loan
from a consortium of banks to enable it purchase cocoa beans for the 2016/2017
crop season, which begins in October.

The loan is equal to
the same amount secured last year and it would be used to purchase between
850,000 and 900,000 tonnes of beans.

COCOBOD said the
loan was oversubscribed by $640 million and there was the opportunity to pick
up an additional $200 million when the need arose.

The deal was signed,
on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany by Dr Stephen Kwabena
Opuni, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and witnessed by Mr Ato Forson, a
Deputy Minister of Finance and Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Ghana’s Ambassador to
Germany.

The lead arrangers
are Deutsche Bank, Natixis , Cooperative Rabobank, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi,
Nedbank, Societe Generale , Standard Chartered Bank, Ghana International Bank
and DZ Bank.

Mr Opuni said the
loan facility comes with an all-inclusive rate of 1.468 per cent with a
four-month moratorium and seven months repayment period, which starts in
February 2017 and will be completed in August 2017.

He said the cocoa
industry was confronted with some challenges, including the decline in soil
fertility, ageing cocoa farmers, overaged cocoa farms, climate change and cocoa
swollen shoot virus.

Mr Opuni said the
Government had supported cocoa farmers to improve upon the soil fertility of
their cocoa farms through the free fertiliser distribution programme,
fungicides and insecticides to cocoa farmers for spraying their farms against
pest and diseases.

He said the
Government had distributed 50 million seedlings to cocoa farmers and increase
it to 60 million seedlings in 2016 to support farmers to rehabilitate overaged
cocoa farms, diseased farms and those starting new farms.

Mr Opuni explained
that all these interventions were expected to add another 500,000 metric tonnes
to 750,000 tonnes of cocoa after the next 10 years to the current yield.

He said the inflows
from the loan would bring in the needed dollars to the economy and help
stabilise the value of the cedi.

GNA

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