COCOBO and Ghana sign US$1.5 billion syndicated loan agreement
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has signed a $1.5 billion syndicated loan agreement with a consortium of international and local financial institutions for the procurement of cocoa beans for the 2021/2022 crop year.
Earlier this year Parliament approved the deal which comes with 1.1% interest plus libor compared to the 1.75% it paid for the US$1.3 billion it paid. he obtained for the 2020/2021 agricultural campaign. With the first tranche of more than 50% of the amount expected to hit COCOBOD’s account next month, the loan is expected to be repaid by August next year in seven equal instalments.
The loan request was oversubscribed by US$200 million from the 24 financial institutions, including Amro Bank, Bank of China Limited in London, Standard Chartered Bank, Industrial, and Commercial Bank of China and Ghana International Bank, Cooperative Rabobank, UA , and Societe Generale.
Medium and long term objective
The amount of US$1.5 billion is expected to be used to purchase some 950,000 tons of cocoa for the period. At the virtual pact signing ceremony in Accra yesterday, COCOBOD’s Managing Director, Boahen Aidoo, said the institutions’ response to the deal was a result of industry players’ growing confidence in COCOBOD. .
COCOBOD’s medium and long-term objective was to maintain or exceed the 1,045,500 million tonnes – an absolute record – produced during the 2020/2021 agricultural campaign. This, Aidoo said, would be achieved by improving production improvement programs that included pruning, hand pollination and fertilization to reach the target of 1,500 kilograms of cocoa per hectare by 2025.
He disclosed that the government would introduce, from October 1, 2021, the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme, after piloting it in New Edubiase district with some 2,800 farmers.
“Once deployed, our farmers will also enjoy a decent retirement benefit and live happily ever after retirement from active farming. The loan will be used for its intended purpose and will be repaid as scheduled. Our balance sheet remains spotless and we will do our best to pay as planned,” Mr Aidoo said.