By: Fred Yaw Sarpong (Daily Express)
Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has announced the signing of an agreement that will bring in an amount of US$1.7 billion for the purchases of cocoa for 2014/2015 crop season and also help to boost Ghana’s economy.
The agreement was signed in collaboration with a consortium of over 20 International banks.
According to the board this comes with an additional US$200 million available on demand for re-drawing from April 2015 to May 2015 for the light crop season.
The facility, which is the largest soft commodity deal in sub-Saharan Africa, was oversubscribed by 15 percent.
The signing of the Receivables Backed Trade Finance Facility for cocoa purchases for the 2014/2015 crop season took place on Thursday, September 11, 2014 in Paris, France.
Since the 1992/1993 crop season, 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.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, thanked the consortium of banks for the support over the years, assuring them that his outfit will continue to work hard to promote the growth of the cocoa industry in Ghana.
He indicated that the continuous support of the banks over the years is a manifestation of the confidence the banks have in the economy of Ghana 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 have been enhanced to ensure the sustenance of the cocoa industry.
On other initiatives taken to improve the welfare of cocoa farmers, Dr Opuni added that this year, COCOBOD had introduced a free fertilizer application programme to increase yield and boost farmers’ income.
“Realistic prices will be paid to cocoa farmers to build their confidence in the cocoa business and encourage the young generation to go into cocoa farming”, he said.
Mr. Thomas Stahl, Head of Corporate banking CEEMEA at Deutsche Bank applauded the Government of Ghana, COCOBOD and all stakeholders in the Ghanaian cocoa industry for their hard work and efforts in sustaining the industry and making the facility possible.
The 2014/2015 facility was arranged by Barclays Bank PLC, Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft, Deutsche Bank AG, KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH, Natixis and DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschafts bank Frankfurt am Main (the “Coordinating Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers” or the “Co-IMLAs”) with the cooperation of Ghana International Bank plc (together with the Co-IMLAs the “Bookrunners”).
The Book runners were joined in senior syndication by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Nedbank Limited, Rabobank International, Standard Bank Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as Senior Mandated lead arrangers, and subsequently in general syndication by ABN AMRO Bank N.V., Bank of China, BHF Bank, Credit Agricole, Ecobank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Intesa San Paolo, Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank.