Business News of Sunday, 2 July 2017
Source: Dalex Finance
Dalex Finance and Leasing Company Ltd. has announced a partnership with Shinkaafa Buni Rice Farmers Association to provide credit to over 10,000 rice farmers in Northern Ghana. The funds will be used to provide farming inputs such as fertilizer, improved seeds, and combined harvesters to ensure prompt and efficient harvesting of the rice.
Speaking on the programme the CEO of DALEX – Kenneth Kwamina Thompson said that DALEX decided to fund the project provide a profitable and sustainable model for funding small-holder farmers who are the bedrock of Ghana’s agricultural sector. He further called on other financial institutions to follow the lead of DALEX and fund the Agriculture sector. “It can be done. SHINKAAFA BUNI is a for-profit organization. We are mining the value chain by also engaging Avnash Rice Mill, who has guaranteed to purchase the rice from the farmers,” he said.
Mr. Thompson called on the Ministry of Agriculture to expedite action to avert the looming disaster posed by the Army Worm. He indicated that the Army Worm has been found in the Eastern, Brong- Ahafo, Ashanti and Western Regions. “Since 2016, the Army Worms have destroyed more than 5,870 hectares of maize, cowpea and cocoa. The effect of these pests could be worse than the ‘biblical plague of locusts’ if unchecked,” he warned. The press conference was also addressed by Nbanty Dagbanja, a rice farmer from Dagbanjado and beneficiary of the credit programme.
He commended SHINKAAFA and DALEX for providing the seeds that had improved their yields, for the chemicals and fertilizers, and for the harvesting services which has improved the prosperity of his fellow farmers. Touching on the challenges in milling rice in Ghana, the Head, Northern Region, Avnash Industries Akshay Sharma bemoaned difficulties in the rice farming industry.
“The local paddy (raw material) prices are too expensive, as the yields per acre achieved by the farmers generally in Ghana are as low as 800 Kg/ acre compared to minimum of 2.4 MT / acre internationally in Thailand, Vietnam, India, USA, Pakistan, etc. The local rice price is as a result uncompetitive in comparison with imported rice.”
The Executive Director of SHINKAAFA – Samuel Sarpong said SHINKAAFA has strengthened the rice sector by engagement at community level. He observed that the partnership with DALEX was part of their mission to develop sustainable models for finance to assist the small-holder farmer. The DALEX Rice farmer credit program delivers credit to farmers over the innovative Dalex SWIFT mobile platform.
The SWIFT platform gives subscribers access to investment/ savings services. Farmers receive their payments through mobile money and then can make deposits into their investment accounts. They have real-time access to their account balances whiles SWIFT provides call center support in Dagbani.