Cocoa farmers in the West Akyem Municipality have expressed joy over the news of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) signing an agreement for a $1.5 billion syndicated loan facility for the 2021/2022 cocoa crop season.
The president of the West Akyem Cooperative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union, Sampson Adu Essel, speaking to the media over the weekend on the side-lines of the Association’s 10th anniversary celebration, said the report had come at the right time to help them sell their cocoa beans and get money to deal with their personal challenges.
Some cocoa farmers who spoke to the media also expressed appreciation to the government for the various interventions implemented to aid them in cocoa production.
COCOBOD, last month, signed an agreement for a $1.5 billion syndicated loan facility for the 2021/2022 cocoa crop season. This is the largest loan facility so far in its history.
The facility has an interest rate of 1.1 per cent plus libor.
The loan will be paid back in seven months, and is expected to help COCOBOD purchase about 600,000 metric tonnes of cocoa for the season and boost the cocoa sector’s speedy recovery from the pandemic.
Eliminating child labour
Meanwhile, the farmers have also put measures in place to eliminate child labour in the sector. As such, they have procured 40 tricycles locally known as ‘aboboyaa’ for some deserving farmers in the area.
Dubbed ‘one community, one aboboyaa’, Mr Adu explained that the tricycles are to be used by the farmers to undertake some farming activities such as carrying of cocoa, which hitherto was done by children in cocoa communities.
Mr Adu Essel has, however, bemoaned the adverse impacts activities of illegal miners are posing to the cocoa sector. He noted that due to the destruction of forest covers by galamsey activities, it is negatively affecting the weather pattern, a situation which is adversely impacting cocoa production.