COCOBOD, African Development Bank celebrate disbursement of loan to boost cocoa productivity
Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and lenders have welcomed the first disbursement of $200 million of a syndicated loan facility to boost cocoa productivity in the world’s second-largest producer.
The occasion was marked by a ceremony held in Accra, Ghana on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 was followed online by hundreds of observers across the globe.
In attendance were COCOBOD and government representatives and participating lenders, which included development finance institutions: the African Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Development Bank of Southern Africa, among others.
The $600 million syndicated loan agreement was signed in November last year at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.
JICA and the African Development Bank agreed to provide $3.5 billion in joint financing under the fourth phase of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa Initiative.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, highlighted the challenges of production, processing and distribution of cocoa in the country but noted that efforts were being made to address them.
“By strengthening the cocoa bean-centric agricultural value chain and related industries, the facility will help COCOBOD to contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
According to officials, COCOBOD would use the facility to raise cocoa yields per hectare and increase Ghana’s overall production.
Activities under the facility would include the allocation of financing to sustainably increase cocoa plant fertility, improve irrigation systems, and rehabilitate aged and disease-infected farms.
The funds would help increase warehouse capacity and provide support to local cocoa-processing companies also.
Dr Jennifer Blanke, African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, said “loan to COCOBOD aims to improve the quantity and quality of local processing, boosting incomes of local farmers and their communities and generating new and better jobs.”
Yasumichi Araki, Chief Representative of JICA Ghana, said “JICA will continue to commit to the cocoa industry in Ghana through innovative interventions to COCOBOD.”
The Development Bank of Southern Africa is also partnering with COCOBOD to further enhance Ghana’s position as one of the leading producers of quality cocoa in the world.