Beneficiaries gear-up for opportunities in US$600m cocoa stimulus package

Different beneficiaries in the cocoa sector value chain have started gearing up to take advantage of opportunities derivable from the US$600 million stimulus package government recently secured from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to revamp the cocoa industry.

Already, a number of major beneficiaries in the sector have either officially or unofficially started engaging with Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to know the eligibility criteria on requisite procedure needed to be followed to access the facility.

The beneficiaries include domestic processors of cocoa beans; owners of moribund farms and warehouse building contractors with estimated amounts of US$200 million, US$82.7 million and US$50 million investments respectively as well as beneficiaries in the storage aspect of the supply chain, that is the cocoa buying companies.

Importantly, with an estimated investment of US$140.2 million earmarked from the facility to fight the swollen shoot disease in the cocoa sector, reports gathered indicates that beneficiaries in this area are gearing up in taking their share of opportunities coming on stream next year.

Joseph Boahene Aidoo, CEO of COCOBOD

In effect, several institutions namely Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) among others that will be involved in promoting high consumption level of cocoa products such as chocolate are also putting up strategic plans in place on how to effectively maximise opportunities in the sector.

Last Wednesday, parliament approved the US$600 million cocoa productivity enhancement project facility. Once the approval has been finalized, officials of COCOBOD and key stakeholders in the cocoa sector are expected to travel to South Africa to engage with representatives of the bank to facilitate in order to enable Ghana receive the facility.

Instructively, the move has been lauded as a major breakthrough in the cocoa sector in the sense that this is the first time Ghana had focused on a medium to long term financing. Over the years, Ghana has been taken annual syndication and this is invariably intended for operational purposes.