Business News of Thursday, 12 September 2019
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has announced that government’s risk guarantee programme for the banking sector will give credit facilities to farmers and agribusinesses to expand and grow their enterprises.
“We anticipate that a properly managed bank with stronger balance sheets will be able to develop appropriate financial products to support the operations of farmers and entrepreneurs in the agriculture value chain”, he said.
Parliament in March approved a US$10 million loan facility made available by the African Development Bank to begin the implementation of a project aimed at lowering credit risk in the agriculture sector.
The Minister said this on Wednesday at the launch of the 35th edition of the National Farmers’ Day in Accra. The event is on the theme: “Enhancing Small Scale Agriculture Towards Agribusiness Development”.
This year’s celebration will take place in the Volta Region on Friday, December 6, 2019.
Mr Ofori-Atta said government has over the years demonstrated commitment to the development of Agriculture in the country through the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme and the ‘One District One Factory’ programme, among others.
He said under the PFJ programme, farmers are benefiting from the implementation of five modules which have been strategically designed to transform the country’s agriculture.
They include the food crops module under which subsidized fertilizer and improved seeds are being distributed to farmers, the rearing for food and jobs component, the greenhouse technology and mechanization modules.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the rollout of especially the food crops, tree crops and greenhouse technology modules was a good opportunity for investors to channel their resources into the one district one factory programme to reap expected benefits
He said these interventions when implemented at full capacity, alongside other innovative initiatives, running concurrently, would fully harness the potential of Ghana’s agriculture.
“This will surely catalyse the advancement of government’s transformation agenda and the attainment of the goal of “a Ghana Beyond Aid”, Mr Ofori-Atta said.
However, the sector growth rate was doubled from 3.19 per cent in 2016 to 6.1 per cent in 2018, becoming the fastest growing sector and the engine of growth of the country’s economy.
Mr Ofori-Atta said Ghana was building the needed capacity in the agricultural sector to reach the status of self-sufficiency in food production, stressing that there were already signs that government was firmly on the path in the production of some staples such maize and rice.
He said the growth of Ghana’s agriculture ties in line with government’s industrialization agenda and its potential benefits of job creation.
The Minister explained the one district one factory policy was strongly aligned to agriculture, expected to feed agro-industries with the requisite raw materials.
Government major objective in the sector is to transform agriculture from its current subsistence and primary production status to a viable commercial enterprise with a strong value addition orientation and a highly developed agriculture value chain.
Government is highly encouraged by this development because of the benefits it brings to farmers, in terms of market opportunities.
He commended the hard work and resilience of farmers in contributing to the socio-economic development and well-being of the citizenry.
The Minister called all to join government, through generous support either in cash or kind to make this year’s celebration a memorable and successful one.
Dr Nurah Gyiele, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, called on corporate organisations to support the event to complement government’s effort to improve the agriculture sector.
He appealed organisations to sponsor the awards categories- platinum, gold, silver, bronze and others.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, welcomed the opportunity and the honour to host this year’s celebration, adding that the region has produced several award winners.