Ghana’s cocoa industry could suffer darker days ahead as the coronavirus pandemic has not just plunged cocoa prices on the world market but also stalled the current syndication process for loan facilities for the 2020/2021 crop season.
CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahene Aidoo told JoyBusiness, the plunge in cocoa prices has so far caused the country $1 billion, fearing for the worse should the pandemic persist.
“The buyers have closed their windows so we are not buying. The price of Cocoa has tumbled. Immediately it brings to Ghana a deficit of almost $1 billion. If this thing should continue, paying our farmers will be difficult,” Joseph Boahen Aidoo disclosed to JoyBusiness.
Regarding updates on the Cocoa Syndication Loan for the 2020/2021 crop season, the COCOBOD CEO disclosed they are “unable to syndicate right now.”
“We arranged everything until August so we signed in September. This time around, most banks out there have closed. It’s really affecting the industry and you know; cocoa is the backbone of the economy and once cocoa is affected, it means that the entire economy is going to suffer”.
COCOBOD will use the facility to raise cocoa yields per hectare and increase Ghana’s overall production.
These include financial interventions to sustainably increase cocoa plant fertility, improving irrigation systems, rehabilitating aged and disease-infected farms. The funds will also help increase warehouse capacity and provide support to local cocoa-processing companies.
Ghana’s cocoa sector employs some 800,000 rural families and produces crops worth about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually – considering the ravaging effects of the Coronavirus on economies, COCOBOD fears the future of small-holder cocoa farmers could be bleak.
Donation by ECOM Ghana to COCOBOD
Meanwhile, a global commodity merchant, ECOM Ghana, donated 1.2 million units of medicated soaps to COCOBOD for all cocoa farmers in contribution to the fight against COVID-19.
Country Manager of ECOM Ghana, Muhammadu Muzzammil, who presented the items to COCOBOD in Accra, said the company’s operations hinged on the activities of cocoa farmers and it was imperative to ensure their safety to continue to produce more for sustainable development.