HFC bank has announced plans to increase its investment in the cocoa sector from GH¢90 million to GH¢198.1 million in order to further augment the availability of funds to players in the sector.
The bank’s move is in response to projections of increasing yields per hectare in the sector, which presents a viable opportunity for financial institutions.
Ghana hopes to produce between 850,000 tonnes and 900,000 tonnes of cocoa beans this crop season, up from the 750,000 tonnes produced in the previous crop season.
The Managing Director (MD) of HFC Bank, Mr Robert Le Hunte, announced this at the bank’s first-ever consultative summit on the cocoa sector in Kumasi for stakeholders in the cocoa sector to discuss pertinent issues such as financing.
The forum was attended by various businesses within the cocoa value chain, including cocoa farmers, LBC, haulage companies, agro-chemical Institutions and COCOBOD.
The participants were given insights onto the bank’s financial proposition for the industry, as well as a detailed lecture on trends and best practices in the cocoa industry.
The MD explained that the forum and financial intervention were designed to support the growth of the cocoa industry.
Financing value chain
“The bank’s relationship with the cocoa industry began in 2012 and entails the financing of Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs). This gives us the opportunity to contribute to the development of an important crop such as cocoa,” Mr Le Hunte stated.
He also congratulated the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and his team for the “Youth in Cocoa Farming Initiative” which seeks to curb the challenge of ageing farmers by encouraging more young people to take up cocoa farming.
The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Opuni, who was the special guest of honour at the summit, also commended HFC Bank’s support to the LBCs and expressed his delight at the bank’s plan to raise its quantum of financial support to all stakeholders along the value chain.
“This comes as great news to us at COCOBOD particularly at a time when government’s focus is on sustaining the enabling environment for more private sector participation in the cocoa sector,” Dr Opuni stated.
He acknowledged the challenges of an ageing farming population, illegal mining and modernisation gap, stating that measures instituted by COCOBOD to tackle the issues yielded positive results across the value chain.
The COCOBOD CEO assured the forum that the sector was on the right path and that “even in the face of the above stated challenges, production figures are steadily on the rise and Ghana is on course to meet its projected 850,000 tonnes production by the end of 2016.”