NEW YORK, March 19 (Reuters) - Ghana’s Cocobod signed a $300 million three-year loan with several international lenders on Tuesday to refinance central bank-raised cocoa bills and finance production enhancement programs, one of the lenders said in a statement.
Ghana said it was in talks with international lenders for such a loan in September. That month, Cocobod signed a $1.3 billion loan with international banks to finance bean purchases.
The $300 million receivables-backed trade finance facility was underwritten by Natixis, Cooperative Rabobank UA, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Societe Generale, and MUFG Bank, Natixis said in Tuesday’s statement.
The loan will also go towards Cocobod’s goals of supporting environmentally friendly production practices, increasing sensitivity to child labor, and empowering women.
The loan will “go a long way to help in carrying out its sustainability programmes in all cocoa regions to enhance the social and environmental sustainability of cocoa farming and also improve the livelihood of farmers,” said Cocobod chief executive Joseph Boahen Aidoo.
Ghana is the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, after neighboring Ivory Coast. (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York Editing by James Dalgleish)