Govt to guarantee credit facilities to farmers

By Kodjo Adams, GNA

Torkornu (V/R),
Sept. 5, GNA – The Government, with the Bank of Ghana, would launch an
initiative that would allow banks to give credit facilities to farmers to
expand production and increase productivity.

The initiative, “Ghana
Incentive-based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending”, is a
Ghc100-million-project, budgeted by Bank of Ghana to support farmers from
September to December to boost agriculture and enhance food security.

Alhaji Mohammed
Muniru Limuna, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, announced this over the
weekend when he paid a working visit to the Ghana Commercial Agriculture
Projects (GCAP) in the Accra plains to interact with farmers on their
operations.

The Minister
visited VEGPRO Ghana Limited in Torgorme, Sugarland at Kotoko, GADCO in
Sogakope and Eden Tree, all in the Volta Region.

He also visited the
Abians Company Limited and Golden Exotic Limited in the Eastern Region.

GCAP is a 145
million-dollar project, funded by the World Bank and the United States Aid for
International Development, under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, for the
development and expansion of commercial agriculture.

The GCAP operates
in Accra plains, comprising parts of the Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta regions,
the Savannah Ecological Zone comprising the three Northern regions and the
Northern part of the Brong Ahafo Region.

The Minister said
banks were unwilling to lend money to farmers because of the high risk involved
in farming, explaining the initiative would enable the Central Bank to insure
those high risk to leverage the market for the financial institutions to feel
free and give loans to farmer.

He explained that
under the programme, if a farmer was given money to expand his farm and circumstances
beyond his control made that impossible, a team would be sent to investigate
the issue.

Alhaji Limuna said
should it emerge that the limitation was the result of for instance a bush fire
or flood, the Bank of Ghana would take up the cost so that the banks would not
suffer that risk.

Mr Charles Nornoo,
the Project Coordinator of GCAP, said the project aimed at improving the
investment climate for agri-business and develop Private-Public Partnerships
and smallholder linkages towards increasing on-farm productivity and value
addition in selected value chains.

He said the
objective of the project was to increase access to land, private sector
finance, input and output markets for small holder farmers from public, private
partnership in commercial agriculture in the Accra Plains and the Northern
Ecological Zone.

Other areas to be
tackled under the project, he said, were nucleus out-grower or contract
arrangements, he said, adding that the project would benefit both Ghanaian and
international investors who would invest in new or expanded opportunities in
the appropriate value chains.

Mr Jagdish Patel,
General Manager of Vegpro Ghana Limited, said the soil and the temperature in
the area were good, adding that the Company was planting “baby-corn”,
vegetables and flowers.

He said the Company
was currently irrigating on 64,000 hectares land and envisaged to irrigate
another 30,000 hectares of land.

GNA

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