The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has reiterated its commitment to agricultural financing by implementing a strategic plan that will increase the share of Agricultural loans in the bank’s total loan portfolio to a minimum of 50 percent by 2022.
The Managing Director of ADB, Dr. John Kofi Mensah, who announced this said the bank has also collaborated with the Ghana Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) to de-risk agricultural financing by issuing credit guarantees. This he explained, will see the bank give agric concessional loans at 10 percent interest rate per annum.
Dr. Mensah further pointed out that the ADB has also entered into an agreement with the Outgrower Value Chain Fund (OVCF) to provide a GH¢20 million loan facility for the rice value chain programme, indicating that this facility is expected to transform rice production so as to make the country self-sufficient in the years ahead.
The ADB MD was speaking during the opening session of the 11th National Farmers’ forum held at Techiman in the Bono East Region. The forum, which is part of this year’s Farmers day was organised by ADB, served as an interface for farmers to interact with agricultural industry players.
The 2020 National Farmers Day celebration is under the theme “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19: Opportunities and Challenges.” The awards was held on Friday November 6 to honour distinguish farmers across the country.
Numerating other special initiatives by the bank, the MD said ADB has special financing for the construction of roads in cocoa-growing areas and fishing communities, saying “any contractor who approaches ADB for a facility for such projects is given a special attention.”
The bank is recruiting and training credit officers to effectively handle agricultural-related loan requests to reduce unnecessary delays, he added.
“In the midst of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, the bank introduced a number of programmes in 2020, including the Broiler Outgrower Programme for which an amount of GH¢500 million has been earmarked.
This programme is expected to help reduce the large volume of chicken parts imported into the country,” he said.
The Minister of State in charge of Agriculture, Dr. Nurah Gyiele, announced that henceforth, there will be reforms in the criteria for selecting national best farmer, explaining that a winner must be someone who has previously won district and regional awards.
He added that a national best farmer must be proven to be adopting improved practices and technologies.
The Minister also stated that in selecting a national best farmer, the person must practice agricultural diversification, produce quality produce, adopt climate-smart practices, creditworthy and impact on other farmers as well as support his/her community development. “Going forward the farm size alone will not be enough determining a winner.”
Topics treated at the forum include Financing Agribusiness under COVID-19: The role of ADB; Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19 Opportunities and threats within the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector; Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL).