COCOBOD has disclosed to Joy Business that the 2020/21 Syndication Loan may delay to make room for new processes in acquiring the facility.

Amid the closure of ports and banks over the COVID-19, some stakeholders believe that the Syndication Loan could be negatively affected.

Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahene Aidoo explained Joy Business new structures put in place – including online conference calls to fast track the acquisition of the loan.

“Syndication Loan processes usually starts around February and so this is the time we should be syndicating. That does not mean the windows are completely closed.

“We are focusing on conference calls and rescheduling the program of syndication – the timing will delay but it does not mean the syndication will not come on at all,” he revealed.

Meanwhile, COCOBOD has established a risk assessment committee to study price trends among others things as the coronavirus pandemic cause havoc to commodity prices on the global market.

But Mr Boahene Aidoo who spoke to Joy Business said the risk assessment committee are to lead reforms on best strategies for COCOBOD in these times.

Commenting on the impact of COVID-19 on Cocoa prices, Joseph Boahene Aidoo maintained would not affect the chain of operations of COCOBOD.

“Ghana COCOBOD is no exception. A number of ports in Asia and Europe have shut down and traders have closed their windows and some of our banks have closed.

“Business is not normal but that does not in any way constrain the operation of COCOBOD and our distribution to clientele and farmers.

“Nothing is halting our operation and purchasing of Cocoa is not stopped. We are making all efforts to get to pay our farmers. We have set up a committee to do a risk assessment to ensure that our farmers are paid and cocoa being bought by the LDCs.”

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