Ghana has signed a 1.8 billion dollar loan facility for the purchase of cocoa beans for the 2016/2017 crop year.
The facility comes with an all-inclusive rate of 1.468 percent.
The agreement was reached at a ceremony between Ghana and representatives from 24 syndicated banks in Frankfurt, Germany Wednesday, September 21, 2016.
Locally owned bank, Fidelity Bank is also part of the agreement.
Under the agreement, Ghana is entitled to an extra 200 million dollars from the syndicated banks if the cocoa crop performs better and requires further funds.
Speaking at the ceremony, the CEO of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, was hopeful the country will meet the output target of between 850,000 metric tonnes and 900,000 metric tonnes for the 2016/2017 crop season.
“We are confident of achieving our production target of 850,000-900,000 metric tonnes during the 2016/2017 cocoa season which begins in October 2016,” he stated.
He however decried the impact of the extensive harmattan weather which affected crop production for the 2015/2016 crop season.
“We must admit that our production target for 2015/2016 cocoa season has been adversely affected by the severe and prolonged dry weather conditions that lasted from December 2015 to March 2016.”
Meanwhile Dr. Opuni is confident the country could add at least 500,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in the next ten years following some improvements such as the provision of seedlings to farmers in the sector.
Ghanaian delegation present at the ceremony included the CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Dr. Stephen Opuni; Deputy Finance Minister- Cassiel Ato Forson, Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany, Akua Sena Dansoaa as well as other officials.
The 2016/2017 syndicated loan facility
The facility is the 24th since its inception in 1992/1993 crop year.
It has a four months’ moratorium and seven months repayment period which starts in February, 2017 and will be completed in August 2017.
The facility was oversubscribed by 640 million dollars.
A total of twenty-four banks are involved in this year’s facility with lead arrangers being eight .viz. Deutsche Bank AG, Natixis, Nedbank Limited of South Africa, Rabobank, Standard Chartered Bank, Societe Generale (SG), while the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd and DZ Bank were co-arrangers.