Cocoa Syndicated Loan: COCOBOD makes $1.45bn drawdown for 2021/2022 season

Management of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has disclosed that it has made a drawdown of $1.45bn from the total $1.5bn loan facility secured for the 2021/2022 cocoa season.

The disclosure was made by management in a press statement issued Friday, March 11, 2022.

Per the statement, the $1.45bn drawdown has gone into financing the purchase of cocoa beans from farmers and other industry costs.

The statement issued by COCOBOD was in response to a claim by Member of Parliament of Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, that management of COCOBOD could not account for the $1.3bn cocoa syndicated loan secured for the 2020/2021 season.

According to the MP, COCOBOD has failed to give tangible explanations regarding the use of the loan in the purchase of about 900,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans in the 2020/2021 crop season.

He said, “I was born by a farmer, into a farming community. My constituency is the highest producer of cocoa in the whole country. Juaboso constituency is predominantly cocoa farmers but unfortunately, the cocoa sector is dying.

“If you look at what is happening in the cocoa sector, for now in the 2020-2021 crop year, we targeted about 800,000 metric tonnes and now we are somewhere around 400,000 metric tonnes.

“The disheartening aspect is that they came to parliament to seek the approval for the syndicated loan which is around 1.3 billion dollars and we approved the money. We were targeting 800 metric tonnes, but now we are somewhere around 400,000 and yet we don’t have money to buy cocoa.

“We have asked several times where the money is, and we are not being given any tangible explanation. If you go to my constituency for example, as I speak to you, the farmers may have the cocoa beans but they may not have access to the money.

“This is the reality because COCOBOD is owing a lot of the cocoa buying companies. So there are a lot of challenges in the cocoa sector as I speak to you now.”

However, COCOBOD in the statement, clarified that it has “met all its statutory requirements and agreements with its financial partners in accounting for the syndicated loan for the crop season which closed in September 2021”.

COCOBOD therefore urged the public to disregard the false claims by the Juaboso MP “as COCOBOD is on course to meet all its financial obligations to farmers and the LBCs within the current crop season”.

COCOBOD in September last year, signed a US$1.5 billion syndicated loan agreement with a consortium of international and local financial institutions for the purchase of cocoa beans for the 2021/2022 crop season.

The first tranche of more than 50 per cent of the amount hit COCOBOD’s account in 0ctober 2021, with the remaining loan amount expected to be retired by August this year in seven equal instalments.

The loan request, according to the COCOBOD, was oversubscribed by US$200 million from the 24 financial institutions which include the 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 General.

The amount is expected to be used to purchase some 950,000 tonnes of cocoa for the 20221/2022 period.

Source: norvanreports