COCOBOD secures $1.5 billion syndicated loan for 2021/2022 cocoa season
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has secured some $1.5 billion in a syndicated loan for the purchase of cocoa beans for the 2021/2022 cocoa season.
This is according to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Dr Joseph Boahen Aidoo.
Making the disclosure at the Olam Ghana Managers’ Conference on Monday, September 6, 2021, the Chief Executive noted the loan syndication process has already been completed with the first drawdown of the loan expected to be made in the middle of October this year.
“For the 2021/2022 Cocoa season, we are going in for $1.5 billion, we are already done with the syndication process and by mid-October, we should have the first drawdown of the loan,” stated Dr Aidoo at the Conference.
Assigning reasons to the Board’s decision to go in for a larger loan for the 2021/2022 cocoa crop season, Dr Aidoo averred the $1.3 billion syndicated loan secured for the 2020/2021 season was inadequate in making payments for cocoa purchases on the back of the historic 1,041, 258 million metric tonnes harvested for the 2020/2021 season.
“The high production of 1,041, 258 million metric tonnes of cocoa for the 2020/2021 season exceeded our expectation and so the $1.3 billion loan acquired was not enough for the purchases that were made. But we have learnt our lesson and that is why we are going in for the $1.5 billion.
“This is also because we are expecting that in the 2021/2022 season we will also harvest above $1 million metric tonnes,” he stated.
Speaking on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the activities of the Board for the 2020/2021 season, Dr Aidoo noted cocoa shipments and purchases by the international community fell with many bags of cocoa beans currently stored in designated warehouses.
“Buyers have given orders that we shouldn’t ship the cocoa beans because of the Covid, and so because of that, we have a lot of cocoa beans stored at the warehouses. Covid affected the international marketing of cocoa, its terminal price as well as the Living Income Differential (LID) for farmers,” he intimated.
Speaking to norvanreports on the sidelines of the Conference on Olam’s performance for the 2020/2021 cocoa season was Eric Asare Botwe, Business Head of Olam Cocoa, who noted Olam increased its market share of cocoa exports to 20 percent in the season under review – 2020/2021.
“Olam bought 20 percent (120,000 metric tonnes) of the over 600,000 metric tonnes of cocoa meant for exports from the COCOBOD and this makes us the company with the biggest market share in cocoa exports.
“Generally, the 2020/2021 cocoa season was good for us, we took advantage of the Covid to grow our adjoining business that was weak.
When the COCOBOD was finding it difficult to pay farmers due to the impact of the pandemic and when other companies decided not to pay cocoa farmers and exit the market, we paid our farmers although it was a loss to us, but is to show that we care about our farmers and its not all about profit for us,” he stated.
For the 2021/2022 cocoa season, Olam Cocoa according to Mr Botwe is looking to makeover 200,000 metric tonnes of cocoa purchases for exports.