Ghana Cocoa Board receives first loan for cocoa productivity

Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has received the first disbursement of $200m of a syndicated loan facility to boost cocoa productivity in the country.

Last November, a $600m syndicated loan agreement was signed at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

Under the fourth phase of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa Initiative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank agreed to provide $3.5bn in joint financing.

In March, after the completion of the syndication process, an amended agreement brought on board JICA, AfDB, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and other commercial lenders.

African Development Bank Agriculture, Human and Social Development vice-president Dr Jennifer Blanke said: “African countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire produce nearly three-quarters of the global supply of cocoa.

“This significant Bank-facilitated loan to COCOBOD aims to improve the quantity and quality of local processing, boosting incomes of local farmers and their communities and generating new and better jobs.”

COCOBOD intends to use the facility to increase cocoa yields per hectare and increase Ghana’s overall production.

Additionally, the facility will be used for finance to enhance cocoa plant fertility, as well as improve irrigation systems, and rehabilitate aged and disease-infected farms.

The funds will also be used to increase warehouse capacity to support local cocoa-processing companies.

Ghana Cocoa Board CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo said: “There are challenges with productivity in the country’s cocoa production, as well as with the systems in place for processing and the distribution of cocoa.

“By strengthening the cocoa bean-centric agricultural value chain and related industries, the facility will help COCOBOD to contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.”

Global wealth manager, investment bank and financial services company Credit Suisse represented commercial lenders, as well as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, London Branch.

Source: FPT