Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Emmanuel Ray Ankrah, has disclosed that he is optimistic the board will receive the first tranche of a $1.5 billion syndicated loan for the 2021/2022 cocoa crop season in October.
Describing the board’s process in bidding for the loan as “impressive”, Mr Ankrah stated that COCOBOD will be proactive in this crop season to ensure that farmers and licensed buying companies are well resourced.
The loan facility, which is by far the biggest in the history of COCOBOD, will be used to finance cocoa purchases and other associated activities in the crop season scheduled for next month.
“The season starts 1st of October [and] we are hoping the money should be in [2nd to4th October]. We are learning our lessons. As soon as the season begins, our cocoa farmers, our LBCs they need to be paid whatever produce they have. So, we are working very rapidly. All the conditions, precedents and all the things that need to be put in place to ensure that the money will come in very quickly we are on top of it.
“So, I can assure you that latest by the 3rd [or] 4th October, the first tranche, which even this time it’s going to be more than 50% of what we are borrowing, should be in our accounts. And we’ll be in a very good position to take care of our early commitments to our licensed buying companies and our farmers”.Mr Emmanuel Ray Ankrah
Repayment of COCOBOD’s loan facilities
Commenting on the repayment of loans, the Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD revealed that since its receipt of loan facilities, it has never defaulted in repayment. He explained that this bodes well for the board as they have received more than originally planned.
“We went in for $1.5 billion and the people were ready to give us $1.7 billion; not less, more. We had 24 banks from all over the world queuing up, begging to give us money. That should tell you something about the good stuff and all the good things we are doing. There’s another statistic which is very important, which [has]… to do with the early bird. Now we had early bird commitment as soon as the syndication was launched at $515 million which is a third of what we are asking for. This, to our mind, is very impressive. I go back to the point I made earlier on, over thirty years we’ve been doing this, we have not defaulted. Not only have we not defaulted but we are now so good at doing these things we pay two months early”.Mr Emmanuel Ray Ankrah
Additionally, he revealed that the activity enhancement programs and the various interventions have put the Board in a place “we could possibly exceed it”.
“That is why we are going for $1.5 billion which is $200 million in excess of the $1.3 billion that we did for the 2020/2021. But we are very optimistic that the prices will recover and COCOBOD will always be COCOBOD”.Mr Emmanuel Ray Ankrah