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Ghana World’s second largest producer of cocoa unlikely to repay $1.3 billion cocoa loan

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Chief executive officer of the Cocoa body Joseph Boahen Aidoo states that Ghana will probably not meet its target of 850,000 metric tons due to dry weather and plant disease.

According to the head of Ghana Cocoa Board, the authority is unlikely to easily repay loans of $1.3 billion as the quantity of this season's production fell lower than expected.

The West African country signed for the loans with lenders such as Credit Agricole SA and Natixis SA prior to the start of the annual harvest in October to pay farmers for their beans.

Chief executive officer of the Cocoa body Joseph Boahen Aidoo states that Ghana will probably not meet its target of 850,000 metric tons due to dry weather and plant disease.

He further explained that although recent rains may improve yields in the smaller harvest that runs from June to September, they may not be sufficient.

“We are only praying that we’ll be able to meet our collateralized facility because the crop wasn’t as good as anticipated,” Aidoo said. “We just started paying the first installment” in February, he said.

While Ghana may not achieve its forecast for the season, it’s already selling cocoa at a loss after it chose not to lower prices for farmers even as global prices slumped by a third from July 2016 through the end of last year. The regulator is losing the equivalent of about $600 for every ton sold this season, it said in February.

The board is in talks with the government on ways to pay for operational expenses and liabilities as the cost of debt on local markets is too expensive, said Aidoo. Over the past year, it sold bills and notes at rates of as much as 22 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We are still discussing with government and we’ll find some solutions,” Aidoo said.

For the next harvest, the cocoa board will target a harvest of 900,000 tons and again seek to raise $1.3 billion in syndicated loans, Aidoo said.

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