Ghana Cocoa Board has signed a $1.3 billion loan agreement with international banks to fund the purchases for the 2019-2020 cocoa season, due to start in early October.

The loan agreement was signed in Paris, with 24 banks, including Societe Generale, Netbank, Naxitis, MUFG bank and Ghana International Bank.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, said at the signing ceremony through a live streaming from Paris, that the facility would be used to purchase 850,000 tonnes of cocoa from farmers.

He said COCOBOD would repay the loan over a seven month period (February to August) with an interest rate of Libor plus 0.55 per cent lower than last year’s rate of 0.625 per cent.

Mr Aidoo said the first half of the loan; 650 million dollars, would be received on October 1, while the rest would be transferred in November.

Mr Aidoo said the facility was oversubscribed by 700 million dollars, out of the total subscription of $2 billion, adding that, with the facility, COCOBOD would be able to meet its obligation in the crop season.

He said COCOBOD believed that its existence was as a result of the tireless work by the farmers, and that, the facility would be used to finance their operations.

Dr Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control at COCOBOD, said there was no single crop season that the company defaulted in payment to cocoa farmers and would continue to sustain that effort.

He said COCOBOD had put in place measures, including mass pruning exercises, cocoa farm rehabilitation and the need to consume cocoa products to boost agriculture in the country.

Source: GNA