This year’s trade finance facility for cocoa purchases recorded an over subscription of 20 % to US $1.8 billion at the end of the syndication exercise which ended in September. COCOBOD, however, signed for US $1.5 billion. The finance deal, the biggest in the history of trade finance in Ghana, was made possible by 36 banks, comprising local and foreign entities from the America’s, Asia and Africa. The facility will ensure farmers receive prompt payment for their cocoa in the 2010/2011 season and also ensure that the crop continues to play its developmental role. Cocoa production and export, has over the years, been seen as one of the possible ways to earn steady income to transform Ghana’s economy and eventually rise out of poverty.

However, there are fears that with the start of oil production by first quarter 2011, the country may shift its attention from cocoa. At the signing ceremony of the trade finance loan, Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwabena Duffour, said government will not abandon the cocoa sector because of theemerging oil and gas sector.

He added Ghana intends to recapture its position as the biggest producer of the crop.

For the 2010/2011 cocoa season, 700,000 tonnes has been set as target but government plans to increase production to one million tonnes by 2012.