Ghana's Cocobod has borrowed between $150 million (€140.4 million) and $200 million (€187.2 million) from cocoa traders to finance bean purchases since the 2023/24 season opened, due to a delay in securing a bank loan, the regulator's public affairs manager has said.
Each September, the industry regulator of the world's second-largest cocoa producer secures an international syndicated loan to finance licensed buyers who purchase cocoa from smallholder farmers for export.
Cocobod plans to borrow $1.2 billion (€1.1 billion) for this season, of which $800 million (€748.9 million) will come from a syndicate of lenders and $400 million (€374.5 million) from other sources, it previously said.
But as the syndication process dragged on, it turned to traders to plug the funding gap, said Cocobod's Fiifi Boafo. The funds will be repaid with the season's harvest, he told Reuters.
"We engaged with some of the buyers to...give us capital for some of the purchase so that the capital is taken care of when we supply them the beans," he said, without giving a specific amount accessed so far.
Boafo said parliament would start approval processes for the agreements on the $800 million syndicated loan this week, after which Cocobod will reach out to partner banks for signing.
Last year, Cocobod signed a $1.13 billion (€1.14 billion) syndicated loan with international banks to finance purchases for the upcoming season.
Ghana, the world's second-largest cocoa producer behind Ivory Coast, uses loans from international banks every year mainly to finance bean purchases. The two West African countries account for around 60% of global cocoa supply.
Elsewhere, Ivory Coast has sold at least 300,000 tonnes of cocoa in export contracts for the 2024/25 season despite pressure from multinational companies to lower prices, exporters and regulator sources said.