HFC bank has announced over a hundred percent increase in its investment to Ghana’s cocoa sector as part of efforts to improve production in the sector.
According to the bank, it expects to increase its contribution from the 90 million cedis to 198.1 million cedis within the period.
The Managing Director of HFC, Robert Le Hunte disclosed this at the bank’s maiden consultative summit on the cocoa sector in Kumasi.
“In regards to cocoa, our dominance in the Western region prompted us and we’re looking at deepening our base to the growth of the cocoa industry. We are looking at increasing our financial exposure to that particular industry,” he stated.
The summit brought together officials from the Ghana Cocoa Board, Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), cocoa farmers as well as companies involved in the production of cocoa to refined products, to discuss issues affecting the sector and devise strategies to address them.
According to Robert Le Hunte, the platform also emanates from the bank’s commitment to “grow beyond just providing financing and look at the holistic development of the industry itself.”
Although issues bordering on illegal mining (galamsey), lack of access to funds, child labour and presence of diseases and pests continue to impede progress in the cocoa sector, Robert Le Hunte was highly hopeful of offering consensus in solving such issues.
Meanwhile the bank intends to increase its support for businesses involved in the production of downstream cocoa sector.
“We are presently giving credit to the cocoa producers, LBCs, we are also helping the cocoa industry by also supporting a number of companies that are engaged in the production of downstream products for the sector.”
“Not only do we realize the contribution of cocoa to Ghana but we also believe that Ghana could significantly benefit from the production at the downstream sector.”
Ghana has however signed a 1.8 billion dollar loan facility for the purchase of cocoa for the 2016/2017 crop season.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Frankfurt-Germany, the CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni was confident Ghana could meet its 850,000 to 900,000 metric tonnes target for the 2016/2017.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana