COCOBOD Secures $1.7bn To Boost Cocoa Purchases

Dr.Stephen OpuniThe Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in collaboration with a consortium of more than 20 international banks, has signed an agreement that would bring in an amount of 1.7 billion US dollars to support cocoa purchases in the country..

This comes with an additional 200 million US dollars available on demand for re-drawing, from April 2015 to May 2015 for the light crop season.

A statement issued in Accra by the Public Affairs Department of COCOBOD said, the facility, which is the largest soft commodity deal in sub-Saharan Africa, was over-subscribed by 15 per cent.

The signing of the Receivables Backed Trade Finance Facility for cocoa purchases for the 2014/2015 crop year took place last Thursday, September 11, in Paris, France.

“Since the 1992/1993 crop season, under the NDC government, COCOBOD has consistently and successfully obtained a receivables-backed syndicated loan each year, from the international money market to finance its cocoa purchases and ensure that farmers receive prompt payment for their produce”, the statement said.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, thanked the consortium for the support over the years, assuring that his outfit would continue to work hard to promote the growth of the cocoa industry in the country.

He indicated that the continuous support of the banks over the years, was a manifestation of their confidence in the Ghanian economy through many years of successful partnership.

Dr. Opuni said ongoing interventions such as the mass spraying exercise, rehabilitation of diseased and moribund cocoa farms, extension services, as well as disease control programmes, had been enhanced to ensure the sustenance of the cocoa industry.

On other initiatives taken to improve the welfare of cocoa farmers, Dr Opuni said that this year, COCOBOD had introduced a free Fertiliser Application Programme to increase yield and boost farmers’ incomes.

“Realistic prices would be paid to cocoa farmers to build their confidence in the cocoa business and encourage the young generation to go into cocoa farming,” he disclosed.

On his part, Mr. Thomas Stahl, Head of Corporate Banking, CEEMEA at Deutsche Bank, commended the government, COCOBOD and all stakeholders in the Ghanaian cocoa industry for their hard work and efforts in sustaining the industry and making the facility possible.

By Times Reporter

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