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12.09.2005 Business & Finance

Cocobod projects increased cocoa production season


Accra, Sept. 12, GNA - The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) said on Monday that it expected the 2005/06 cocoa production to rise to at least 650,000 metric tons from an estimated 570,000 tons to be harvested in the current crop year.

"As a result of favourable weather conditions in Ghana, a normal crop is forecast," Cocobod said in a statement released to the Ghana News Agency prior to a signing ceremony in Paris between Ghana and creditors to fund the cocoa purchase.

Societ=E9 Generale's investment bank arm, SG Corporate and Investment Banking, Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank, part of French bank Credit Agricole SA and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have agreed to arrange a 550 million-dollar syndicated loan to finance Ghana's cocoa purchases in the crop year starting next month.

In addition, Ghana will borrow 70 million dollars between May and June for the mid-crop.

Ghana has only partially liberalised its cocoa market and still controls external sales. Growers will continue to receive a guaranteed price of at least 70 percent of the world market price, Cocobod said. It said it plans to gradually adjust its pricing policy to reflect the difference in quality between the main and mid-crop. Farmers currently receive the same price for both, even though the mid crop is slightly lower in quality.