GIRSAL unveils knowledge portal to improve agric lending, investments
The Ghana Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) has partnered the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to launch a portal that provides information on agriculture to financial institutions to aid them in loan assessments relating to agric.
The platform – the GIRSAL Agriculture and Agribusiness Knowledge Portal – aims at giving banks and credit facilities all the necessary information needed to enable them design products that suit the agric sector.
In his statement at the launch in Accra, Godwin Anku – Director at GIRSAL, noted that a major challenge facing the agric sector remains lack of access to funding for agric projects, and banks’ unwillingness to give funds in that regard.
This, he said, is due to certain perceived factors associated with agriculture which make the institutions shy away from lending to the sector – a situation that he indicated is largely associated with lack of adequate information about the sector and its value chains.
“You and I know that financial institutions in Ghana do not find it attractive to finance agricultural activities because of perceived and real high risks in the sector. GIRSAL is therefore doing all that we can to develop the knowledge base required by financial institutions in appreciating agriculture and the agribusiness financing landscape.
“To this end, we have developed another intervention – which is a knowledge portal to complement the agriculture and agribusiness learning training programme that is presently being rolled out at the National Banking College.”
The new portal consists of information on commodities within crops, livestock, poultry and aquaculture, including information on their value chains, risks, production calendars and more. The platform also contains statistics and databases, sector policies, among others.
Senior Agribusiness Specialist at GIRSAL, Takyi Sraha, in an interview told the B&FT that the portal and its purpose is ultimately aimed at enhancing the levels of funding for agric in the country.
“If the banks understand agriculture, it takes away the mentality of agriculture or agribusiness as a risky sector; because once they understand the intricacies, the risks, and the mitigation measures, it gives them the confidence to be able to structure deals that benefit farmers and agribusinesses.
“The long-term goal is for access to finance for the agric sector to increase from the 5 percent or so we have in the country now,” he noted.