Category Archives: Agribusiness

World Cocoa Farmers Organization (WCFO) on increased Cocoa Price for the 2020/2021 season

The leadership of The World Cocoa Farmers Organization (WCFO), Ghana Chapter, would like to commend COCOBOD and for that matter the Government of Ghana on the producer price increment for the 2020/2021 season.

The new price of GH₵660 per bag of 64kg is indeed welcome news to all cocoa farmers as it will boost the morale of farmers and improve our earnings.

The WCFO has, since 2019, followed with keen interest the collaborative efforts of the government and for that matter, COCOBOD have put in at intervening in the pricing regime through the Living Income Differential (LID) proposed by the governments of Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire to ensure cocoa farmers earn improved incomes for improved livelihood.

We, the producers of cocoa are highly impressed by the high level of commitment and tenacity to confront the Cocoa Industry and all stakeholders to come to terms with this novelty approach. We also note with satisfaction that the promise to transfer all the gains of $400 in the Living Income Differential to farmers has been honored and this indeed is commendable.

The WCFO also notes with appreciation the cooperative stands of other stakeholders, particularly the Manufacturing sectors to ensure farmers secure some level of decent income and reduce the negative effect of price volatility. It is our hope that this would be sustained and improved upon so as to make cocoa production attractive to the youth as a business venture.

The World Cocoa Farmers Organization (WCFO) as an international umbrella body that is set up to serve as an advocacy platform for a common voice for all cocoa farmers applauds the government and pledge support to COCOBOD for policies that will improve cocoa farmers livelihood.

We also would like to call on COCOBOD to fast track the cocoa farmer pension scheme policy to ensure our aged farmers are able to leave a decent life in our old age.

Long leave cocoa farmers.

Yours Faithfully

Moses Djan Asiedu

(National Board Secretary)

Business models in vertical farming: IDTechEx

The concept of vertical farming, the idea that crops can be grown much more efficiently indoors under controlled environmental conditions than conventional farmland would have been possible, has captured the imagination of entrepreneurs and investors alike, with dozens of start-ups around the world raising ever-increasing amounts of investor capital.

The recent IDTechEx report ‘Vertical Farming 2020-2030’ explores the technologies and market factors that shape this rapidly expanding industry.

The ongoing argument within the industry is about size – is it better to focus on building a large, highly automated plant factory to minimise production costs, or is a small, more flexible approach the best way to set up a vertical farm?

This question arises from some of the challenges facing the vertical farming industry. Setting up and running a vertical farm is not cheap, and many vertical farming companies have struggled to overcome spiraling labour and power costs, alongside unforeseen logistical complexities, and problems with maintaining an optimum growing environment.

But of course, same cannot be said about doing vertical farming for your home consumption – here one needs to keep is simple with no commercial intent or objective.

A potential solution to some of these problems is the construction of a very large vertical farm, which allows the power costs to be averaged over a large quantity of crops.

In addition, large vertical farms make it easier to justify the use of advanced automation systems that can help reduce labour costs, while the cost of automated systems is also spread over large quantities of crops.

Such economies of scale can help a vertical farm to begin to achieve price parity with a conventional farm, something that has long eluded smaller vertical farms, which are often forced to sell products in premium categories.

Large vertical farms producing large quantities of crops can also be more easily integrated into existing food supply chain structures, for example, next to the main distribution centre of the supermarket.

One company trying to use this scale-based approach is the Jones Food Company, a British vertical farm start-up that currently operates the largest vertical farm in Europe.

The company believes that the only way for vertical farming to be successful in the long term is to achieve price parity with conventional farming, which it hopes to achieve through automation and the operation of large scale facilities near distribution centres.

Read also Home gardening: How to make a simple drip irrigation home garden using plastics

The company draws its inspiration from car factories – it is far more cost-effective to produce cars in a large central plant than it would be to produce them in small premises near dealerships, and Jones Food Company believes that the same logic applies to vertical farming.

Crops grown in distribution centres are still able to reach consumers quickly, often within a day of harvesting, and the company does not believe that the hyper-local model promoted by certain competitors is worth the inefficiencies and costs of many small facilities located in city centres.

Several other vertical farmers are following this approach, with New Jersey’s start-up, AeroFarms, announcing in 2019 that it would invest US$42m to build a 150,000 sq. foot facility in Danville, Virginia, which the company claims will be the largest in the world.

Jeff Bezos-backed Plenty operates a 52,000sq foot facility in South San Francisco to maximise production efficiency to improve the economy of vertical farming.

Read also Farming in the Desert: Are Vertical Farms the Solution to Saving Water?

Not everyone, however, agrees with this large-scale approach. Large installations and automation are expensive, with large installations costing tens of millions of dollars.

While this approach may make sense for a car manufacturing plant or other high-margin products, for low-margin products such as fresh produce, it may take decades to repay this initial investment.

In addition, supply and demand for fresh produce are not always consistent, and pricing can often change, making it difficult to predict investment returns accurately, which can be very problematic for a vertical farm that has cost several million dollars to build.

Moreover, many of the processes required to grow crops can not yet be addressed through off-the-shelf automation solutions, creating difficult engineering challenges that can make scale-up very complicated.

Another problem for very large vertical farms is that the operational complexity can increase considerably for larger farms.

Plants are living organisms that can act in unpredictable ways, making it difficult to grow them in a way that resembles a factory production line.

Plants emit heat and water vapour as they grow, while also requiring supplies of carbon dioxide and oxygen, in addition to nutrients.

Keeping crop inputs consistent across the entire vertical farm and managing waste heat and water vapour can also be very difficult in a high density growing area.

Careful consideration of plant science, together with the planning of a logistic workflow to maximise efficiency, is needed to successfully operate a large-scale vertical farm.

Read also Check out how technology is aiding African farms to flourish

As a result of these challenges, some companies have instead chosen to focus on smaller vertical farming facilities, choosing to focus on flexibility instead of economies of scale.

For example, Freight Farms, which manufactures turnkey, modular vertical farms inside 40′ containers, believes that smaller vertical farms provide a more flexible and targeted business model than large, centralised facilities.

Small vertical farms can be tailored to certain markets with gaps, such as crops that can’t be imported, and transient falls in supply for high-demand crops and restaurants or food suppliers that need a specific ingredient. These are all markets in which large, warehouse-like, vertical farms are not easily accessible.

Rather than focusing on mass-produced, wholesale crops, where vertical farms will always struggle to compete on price with traditional farms and greenhouses, it may make more sense for vertical farm operators to focus on high-value crops with price premiums, perhaps on niche markets or on specialised applications.

Parliament approves US$20 million support rural livelihood

Ghana’s Parliament has approved US$20 million Financing Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to finance the Emergency Support to Rural Livelihood and Food Systems (ESRF).

The ESRF was established as one of government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a primary goal to protect the livelihood, incomes, and resilience of target groups from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and from climate change.

The terms of the loan are: the total amount of US$20 million made up of a Loan Facility of US$10 million and Blend of US$10 million.

The interest rate on loan is zero percent while that on Blend is 1.3 percent, Service charge on Loan is 1.31 percent whereas that on Blend is 1.33 percent. The Moratorium on Loan is 10 years whilst Blend is 5 years.

The repayment period for the loan is 40 years whereas the Blend is 20years and the Grant Element of the Loan is 50.24 per cent whilst the Blend is 24.14 per cent, with a Weighted Grant Element of 37.19 percent.

Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, presenting the committee’s report, observed that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its ravaging effect on global economies including Ghana had adversely impacted agriculture, particularly food security.

To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and avert the possibility of a food security crisis, there is the need to strengthen Ghana’s food systems and ensure a more inclusive, resilient and productive rural economy, he said.

The Chairman announced therefore that the Government of Ghana was seeking to access emergency funding support from IFAD to finance the implementation of the ESRF.

Dr Assibey-Yeboah explained that Component One of the project “which is to protect against hunger and build resilient livelihood was allocated US$17,636,000. This is to provide 37,250 beneficiaries with timely access to inputs (seeds, fertilizers, etc) to increase production, support 5,000 vulnerable beneficiaries with direct cash transfer and rations to overcome hunger and prevent nutritional gaps.”

He said component two of programme which dealt with safeguarding rural marketing linkages and food security was allocated US$1,679,000. This would provide stimulus to the agribusinesses to develop marketing linkages with 25,000 smallholders, ensuring that these smallholders had secured income and cash availability after harvest or production.

According to the Chairman, Component 3 of the programme which dealt with Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, was allocated US$685,000. This would be undertaken through the Project Coordination Unit (PCU) and Zonal Coordination Unit (ZCU).

Dr Rashid Pelpuo, Member of Parliament for Wa Central, said life should go on despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic especially with commitment to agriculture and food security.

He, however, expressed concern that despite the country receiving US$1billion Rapid Credit Assistance from the IMF, the House approving US$100 million from the World Bank and GHS10 billion from the Bank of Ghana and now US$20 million, the House was yet to see any accountability report on the funds.

“Mr Speaker, I do not know what we are doing with these monies we are amassing and I have a feeling that we are not doing the right thing.

If we have taken all these monies yet we are not producing results or report as to how the money was spent,” Dr Pelpuo said. “I think that we should not indebt this country in the name of COVID,” he added.

UK Farmers concerned over low quality meat imports after Brexit

Alan West, a recently retired sheep farmer and agricultural lecturer based in South East England, is concerned about growing over Britain’s position on the standards of imported meat and the fate of the British farm industry.

Earlier this week, MPs rejected the latest attempt to require imported food to meet domestic legal standards from January 1, 2021.

In the parliament, they struck down a House of Lords (upper house of parliament) amendment to the Agriculture Bill to force trade deals to meet Britain’s animal welfare and food safety rules. According to West, the possibility of the British market being “swamped by cheap, poor quality foreign imports” could be devastating for farmers.

The Agriculture Bill is designed to prepare the British farming industry for the new situation when Britain no longer has to follow the laws and rules of the European Union (EU) next year, and returned to the House of Commons (lower house of parliament) this week following amendments made by the House of Lords.

But MPs voted to reject the amendment, which contained a change that would give MPs a veto over sections in trade deals relating to food imports. It would be required to comply with “relevant domestic standards”.

The British government said EU rules banning imports of chlorine-washed chicken and other products will be automatically written into British law once the post-Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31, according to the BBC.

In response to the amendment being rejected, Chief Executive of the National Sheep Association, Phil Stocker said: “This amendment provided an opportunity to uphold and protect our animal welfare standards, some of the highest in the world.”

“With this being rejected by MPs, there is now the very real risk, despite government’s assurances, that the UK’s standards that our nation’s farmers are proud to work to, could be undermined by lower standard imports,” Stocker said.

A major discussion in the parliament has been securing a post-Brexit U.S. trade deal. Due to Britain’s position, campaigners have warned that it could be forced to accept lower standards to secure that future U.S. trade deal. West said his biggest concern is a deal with the United States, above any other country.

“The concerns are about things like the use of growth promoters, both in beef production and milk production in the U.S., the use of a range of agri-chemicals that have been banned here,” West told Xinhua.

“It would reduce livestock production to significantly lower welfare standards than would be permissible here … so they could effectively put cheap beef, cheap poultry into our markets, produce the standards that we are not allowed to produce here and undercut our producers,” said West.

A saturated meat market could be devastating for British farm businesses already struggling with the transition of Britain out of the EU. Now farmers and relevant associations are calling on the government to fully consider the consequences of free trade agreements that could jeopardize the future of Britain’s domestic meat industry.

“What I’d like the government to consider when negotiating free trade deals, really is to honour the commitments on the promises they’ve made to producers to maintain standards. And to consider those standards when negotiating any trade deals,” West said.

West and other farmers are calling on the Trade and Agriculture Commission, a commission representing farmers, retailers and consumers in Britain, to be made a permanent body.

“It needs power, with some teeth and the ability to scrutinize trade deals to ensure that anything we’re going to import into the UK for any agricultural product will comply with our standards of production,” West said.

Agribusiness identified as key to addressing youth unemployment – World Bank report

In a World Bank Report titled “Youth Employment Programmes in Ghana: Options for Effective Policy Making and Implementation” identifies agribusiness, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, construction, tourism and sports as key sectors that can offer increased employment opportunities for Ghanaian youth.

The report suggests that although these are not new areas, the government could maximize their impact by scaling-up these priority areas in existing youth employment interventions and improve outreach to the youth.

According to the report, Ghana is faced with about 12 percent of youth unemployment and more than 50 percent underemployment.

This is both higher than overall unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan African countries.

Despite major investments by both government and private sector, this challenge will intensify if job opportunities remain limited.

To tackle youth unemployment, the report highlights the importance of having disaggregated data on youth jobseekers by location, gender, skills and capabilities to inform policy and funding decisions. There was also the need to respond with appropriate and tailored employment programs.

The report is accompanied by an inventory of public job programmes in Ghana to inform policy makers and stakeholders on the existing landscape of youth employment programming.

The report also calls for more investments in career guidance and counseling, work-based learning, coaching, and mentoring to equip young people with the skills needed for work.

“Ghana’s youth employment challenge is vast and requires an all-round, deliberate, and consistent response,” said Pierre Frank Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“Considering the options outlined in this report, future youth employment policy planning should not only address youth unemployment but should also build the human capital needed to sustain Ghana’s economy”, he added.

The authors lay out key priorities to promote youth employment in Ghana:

Importance to align formal education programs and skills development initiatives in the context of a fast-changing labor market that requires new and different skill sets, and to adapt to new technology.

Partner with the private sector — such as involving employers in the design of training curricula and introducing certifications for occupational standards in order to adapt to the future of work.

Integrate pre-employment support activities as part of the country’s current education system to better prepare young people for the transition to work.

Promote social inclusion initiatives to improve access to credit and management training for women entrepreneurs, as well as improve both infrastructure and equipment available for persons living with disabilities and ensure that no one is left behind.

In addition, the report emphasizes the need for greater collaboration among different stakeholders to reduce duplication and fragmentation of youth employment programming.

This report is accompanied by an inventory of public job programs in Ghana to inform policy makers and stakeholders on the existing landscape of youth employment programming

World Bank warns Ghana to curb its fiscal deficit

The World Bank has warned African countries, Ghana inclusive to spend wisely and implement innovative strategies which will broaden the tax net to capture every income-generating activity in order to close the vast fiscal gap induced by the pandemic – adding that the situation has further heightened the country’s risk of debt distress.

While official data from the Bank of Ghana put Ghana’s public debt at 68.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product – which is just below the generally accepted debt sustainability threshold of 70 percent, this has been computed based on an assumed 6.8 percent growth rate for 2020.

Based on the revised growth rate of between 0.9 percent and 2.5 percent – depending on whose forecasts are being used – the public debt to GDP ratio is already above that threshold.

In its Africa’s Pulse report (October 2020), the Bretton Woods institution noted that Ghana is among the countries which are expected to see fiscal deficit increase significantly to hit double-digits by the end of 2020, due to loss of revenue and increased spending. This, the bank says, will further shoot-up public debt in the year.

Read also Governments must pay attention to disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on rural women – IFAD President

Worryingly, more than half of this is now foreign debt, which means foreign currency exposure, since government adopted a deliberate strategy of trying to avoid crowding the local private sector out of the domestic money market as it had to ramp up public fiscal deficit financing.

Meanwhile, revenue mobilisation in first-half of the year fell short of its target by 26 percent, resulting mainly from shortfalls in oil revenue, Customs receipts and non-oil Non-Tax revenues. Total Revenue and Grants for the period amounted to GH¢22billion, compared with a programmed target of GH¢29.7billion.

By August the fiscal deficit had climbed to 7.4 percent of GDP, which is higher than the target of 7.2 percent for that time. With elections approaching government has already begun to make significant unbudgeted expenditures, some aimed at wooing voters. Some analysts predict that the fiscal deficit for 2020 will exceed 12 percent of GDP, a long term record high

For this reason, the World Bank has proposed a raft of measures which include prudent spending, digitalising the tax system to capture all economic activity, and ensuring State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are not abusing resources, among others, to address this situation.

Read also High value markets identified for Ghana’s sweet potatoes

“Broadening the tax base can build up fiscal space by raising government revenues. The insertion of digital tools into public administration may help expand the set of taxpayers, reduce costs, and improve tax performance. Governments can better identify taxpayers by issuing digital IDs.

“They can also establish online platforms for e-filing and e-payments of taxes and import duties. Digital technologies help strengthen tax administration by lowering transaction costs and allowing innovation in tax policy. Digital tax administration may reduce tax evasion and fraud.

“Fiscal authorities need to spend their resources efficiently by cutting non-essential outlays and re-prioritising spending while maximising the impact of such expenditure on economic activity – thus creating fiscal space. Curbing unnecessary spending includes terminating ghost-workers and avoiding permanent increases in public salaries,” the report stated.

It added: “Improving the performance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) also involves cutting unnecessary costs in public expenditures. Amid widened deficits and high debt vulnerabilities, it is imperative for SOEs to use public resources efficiently. In this context, several actions can be undertaken to improve SOE performance.

“One, periodic reviews of SOEs to assess the amount and quality of the goods/services supplied; (2) provision of the right incentives to boost managers’ performance and the capacity of government agencies to improve SOE oversight; and (3) a level playing field for SOEs and private firms to foster greater productivity and avoid protectionism (that is, by limiting special treatment for SOEs).”

Source: GSB

Kenya launches a one million kitchen gardens farming initiative

On September 20th 2020, the ministry of agriculture in Kenya launched an initiative to empower 1 million kitchen garden farmers in rural areas and peri-urban areas.

Championed by the youthful Chief Administrative Secretary Mrs. Ann Nyaga, a lot of youth have embraced this idea and engaged in resourceful conversations online.

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has raised concerns about sustainability of food productions and food supply chains in the region.

Even though COVID-19 is a health related problem, its effect are being felt in almost all sectors and the agriculture sector has equally been negatively affected.

When key food production and supply systems are hampered with, people have inadequate access to nutritious food and hence weak immune systems”, Said Mrs. Ann Nyaga in a YouTube video.

In response to this reality, the Ministry of agriculture has developed measures to mitigate malnutrition and hunger by encouraging families to adopt the kitchen garden farming systems.

The agri-nutrition department of the ministry of agriculture said that they have been working closely with the ministry of health and other stakeholders to sensitize Kenyans on the importance of kitchen gardens in providing integral nutrition health.

Read also Kenya: Unpaid bonuses spark protest of Tea Farmers

The one (1) million kitchen gardens farming initiative will target 1,000,000 families in rural and peri-urban set-up.

The Chief administrative secretary in the ministry of agriculture, Mrs Ann Nyaga said that they will launch a number on model farms across the country where families can go and get trained on the principles of kitchen garden.

To start with, the ministry will promote the following simple and water efficient kitchen garden farming technologies/techniques:

  1. Multi-storey kitchen gardens

Read also Kenya: New rice planting system saves water and seeds

  1. Micro kitchen gardens,
Micro kitchen gardens

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  1. Tire kitchen garden

Read also Kenya to begin expansion of Irrigation Project for rice, eyes 11,000mt

  1. Wink irrigation kitchen garden

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  1. Moist bed kitchen garden
Moist bed kitchen garden

Read also Kenya to privatize sugar factories: Government, stakeholders to dialogue

  1. Simple drip irrigation kitchen garden

High value markets identified for Ghana’s sweet potatoes

Sweet potato

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority, in a new report released this month, has identified several European markets that the country’s exporters of sweet potatoes should seek to exploit.

Although Ghana’s sweet potatoes exports grew by 23.3 percent in 2019, to reach US$434,000 up from US$333,000 in 2018, the country’s share of the global market is still an insignificant 0.1 percent, which ranks it as just the 40th largest exporter world wide.

Last year, Ghana’s biggest export markets were France which bought US$138,000 worth and Italy which bought US$129,000 worth. Between them they bought 61 percent of Ghana’s total sweet potato exports.

The other major export destinations last year were Belgium US$81,000; Canada US$65,000; and the United Kingdom US$18,000.

But while Ghana’s exports to France grew by 2522 percent last year and sales to Italy and Belgium also grew by 597 percent and 294 percent respectively, exports to Canada declined by 14 percent.

On a longer term basis, export of Ghanaian sweet potatoes to the United Kingdom have declined by 36 percent between 2015 and 2019 while over the same period exports to Norway have also fallen by 21 percent making that hitherto important export market much less significant currently.

Total global demand for sweet potatoes is currently put at US$699.393 million, in a market which grew by 23 percent between 2018 and 2019.

Read also G-MONEY partners Eliho Ghana Ltd to digitalize payments to cocoa farmers

Last year, The Netherlands was the world’s biggest importer of sweet potatoes, buying up US$157.096 million worth, this accounting for 22.5 percent of global imports.

Other major importers with strong growth rates are the UK, Germany, Canada, France and Belgium.

GEPA’s research recommends that Ghanaian producers and exporters of sweet potatoes look to western Europe in particular for increased sales.

Import tariffs imposed on Ghana are zero rated which is the same as for the biggest exporters to the European Union.

Based on this and favourable geographical distance, GEPA recommends markets such as France Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

While markets in France Italy and Belgium are already being exploited by Ghana, albeit at levels far below their full potential, some other markets – Spain, Switzerland and Norway – have not been exploited to any significant degree despite their strong potentials as rapidly growing markets, and indeed Ghana has zero market share in all three currently.

This despite the fact that Spain imported US$7.308 million worth of sweet potatoes last year, in an export market that has seen average annual growth of 54 percent between 2015 and 2019.

Read also Partisan politics afflicts COCOBOD transfer from Trade to Agric ministry

Similarly, Switzerland imported US$6.985 million last year, with demand growing by an annual average of 17 percent over the past five years.

Although Norway’s import growth rate over that period is considerably lower at just an annual average of 4 percent, its import market is already substantial in size at US$7.425 million.

Crucially though GEPA acknowledges that even as new export markets are found and old ones are better exploited there is the need for Ghana to step up its production capacity with regards to sweet potatoes – if those markets suddenly can be opened up and market share wrested from their current leading suppliers, Ghana could possibly be hard pressed to meet export orders at current production levels.

G-MONEY partners Eliho Ghana Ltd to digitalize payments to cocoa farmers

GCB Bank Limited, Ghana’s largest and oldest indigenous bank has partnered Eliho Ghana Ltd. to facilitate the payment and receipt of funds in the cocoa farming and purchasing ecosystem, using the G-Money platform.

The G-Money/Eliho partnership is a manifestation of the Bank’s interest in providing financial inclusion for the partially banked and unbanked population of the country; and aims to provide smooth financial operation support for Eliho and other supply chain networks and partners.

The G-Money platform gives GCB Bank a further advantage with regards to reach into Ghana’s rural hinterlands – adding to its unparalleled nationwide branch network – where it is far and away the most popular commercial bank, and indeed in many places, the only one.

The G-Money platform will also enable Eliho to pay purchasing clerks (PCs) with virtual funds transferred onto their mobile wallets. The PCs in turn are able to transfer the value of each farmer’s cocoa sales real time onto their mobile wallets.

Read also Partisan politics afflicts COCOBOD transfer from Trade to Agric ministry

G-Money is telco-agnostic mobile money service that enables both customers and non-customers of GCB to transact using e-value received on their phones.

Eliho Ghana Ltd., in collaboration with Touton SA, which has been a trading partner of Ghana Cocoa Board for over 50 years and for the past two years have designed a comprehensive sustainable sourcing model where farmers in their supply chain have access to Rural Service Centers (RSCs) that serve as one-stop-shop at the district level.

This enables them to nurture a network of youth entrepreneurs called Cocoa Tech to deliver critical and essential services at the community level including access to Finance among others.

The partnership provides the beginning of a platform for the commercialization of extension services to cocoa farmers as envisioned by COCOBOD, when it has completed its ongoing initiatives to triple productivity per acre, which in turn will enable farmers to pay commercial rates for such services.

Therefore, the new partnership has positioned both partners to be central to the consequent emergent value chain.

The Eliho/Touton initiative has facilitated the onboarding of District Mangers, Purchasing clerks and small holder farmers onto digital platforms for the digitization of their financial transactions, which has been made possible by GCB’s G-Money services.

With this partnership all cocoa farmers producing for purchase by Purchasing Clerks (PCs) have the singular convenience of receiving payment for their produce via mobile transfer.

Read also CARE Ghana & Cargill launches ‘PROSPER’ Initiative to support cocoa farmers in Western North Region

Crucially, the service goes to significantly reduce the risk of loss of funds and eliminates the risk of theft resulting from carrying physical cash, along the value chain. In this particular partnership Eliho has access to the service by both the Web portal and the use of a mobile handset.

At the official signing ceremony, The Managing Director of Eliho, Mr. Nicholas Kumah stated that the G-Money digital platform will provide great relief to the supply chain through the secured consolidated cocoa District Managers Account, ensuring the real time availability of monies to purchasing clerks.

This enhances transparency, accountability, traceability and security. This platform will also reduce financial misappropriation due to the shortened time in converting released cash into cocoa and sold back to COCOBOD he said.

The Deputy Managing Director of Finance, GCB, Mr. Socrates Afram, expressed his excitement about the partnership as the service would ensure availability, access, and the smooth transfer and payment of funds.

Partisan politics afflicts COCOBOD transfer from Trade to Agric ministry

Parliament, by a majority decision has passed a legal proposal to shift ministerial oversight responsibility of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) from the Ministry of Trade to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

However, observers of Parliamentary proceedings were taken aback by the partisan nature of the debate, which concerned a change of administrative structure, rather than one with any significant practical import.

Although, ministerial responsibility is already being exercised by the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), this is yet to be approved by an Act of Parliament.

Therefore, the Ghana Cocoa Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017 simply sought to amend Section 39 of the Provincial National Defense Council (PNDC) Law 81, which established COCOBOD, to vest ministerial responsibility of the activities of the Board in the hands of the Minister of Food and Agriculture as is already being done to all intents and purposes.

Under PNDC Law 81, the Minister of Trade and Industry has been exercising ministerial responsibility over COCOBOD, but that responsibility, in practice has been handled by the Minister of Food and Agriculture.

Read also Solidaridad partners COCOBOD to introduce farm service support to cocoa farmers

Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, Chairman of the Committee on Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs justified the amendment, asserting that the intended change in ministerial responsibility under the law is to properly focus cocoa production as the foremost function of the Board.

He said the fact that cocoa production was under the remit of the agriculture sector makes imperative for the Minister of Agriculture to have oversight responsibility over the Ghana Cocoa Board and related matters pertaining to the production of cocoa as an agricultural product.

However, the opposition National Democratic Congess’s representatives refused to back the passage of the bill ostensibly for several reasons.

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Ranking Member on the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, complained that the Minority members of the Committee had great difficulty understanding government’s rationale for the amendment.

He cited Article 106(1) (2a) to argue that no Bill shall be introduced in Parliament unless it is accompanied by explanatory memoranda, setting out in detail the policies and principles if the Bill, adding the amendment being proposed did not meet that requirement.

Read also Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform commends COCOBOD on Producer Price increment for 2020/2021 cocoa season

Alhaji Fuseini also stated that the Ministry of Trade and Industries was designated to the supervisory Ministry by PNDC Law 81 more than 35years ago, and that COCOBOD was operating under the ministry all these years without problems.

“So, when the Bill was laid by the Attorney General and referred to us, it appeared to us there were other considerations other than the marketing of cocoa, which was informing the realignment of this ministry,” he said.

“So, the only conclusion we came to is that this current amendment does not meet the requirement of Article 106(1) (2a) or motivated by defects in the existing arrangement. That is why we cannot support this amendment,” he added.

Politically neutral observers were left wondering what the two major parties could possibly agree on in the national interest if they could not agree on something as innocuous as this.

Read also Senegal: Women farmers develop financing initiatives to boost their businesses

Senegal: Women farmers develop financing initiatives to boost their businesses

Ramatoulaye Badji is a farmer and vendor in the Thies region, 70 kilometres east of Dakar, Senegal. In the afternoons, she stays at her stall in the Keur Abdou Khoye market, despite the heat of the day.

She explains, “This is the time that clients come, so I took advantage to sell my products.” Keur Abdou Khoye is one of the largest vegetable markets in Senegal.

Like many other farmers, Mrs. Badji wants to increase her sales in order to increase her income. But she has difficulty accessing credit to grow her business, despite the increasing number of financing programs. She recalls her first experience bitterly.

Ramatoulaye said, “I spoke to a financing agent at the market the first time. But it didn’t go well.” A team of financing agents had visited the market to talk to women. She was convinced by the pitch, but the reality was quite different.

She explains: “We women farmers have difficulty meeting the loan payment deadlines because our resources depend on the varying frequency of our returns, which makes the rest complex.

The banks don’t take this reality of our income-generating activity into account, especially in rural areas.”

While many farmers face similar experiences, women are in an even more precarious situation because they don’t have the right to own land. Owning land can be a requirement for receiving credit.

Funding programs and financial institutions have expanded in Senegal in recent years, forcing them to diversify their offerings to appeal to groups of women farmers.

Maty Ndoye is a member of the gender network of CONGAD, a platform for 178 national and international NGOs with headquarters in Senegal.

She says there is a focus on economically empowering woman farmers. She says that Senegal is very advanced in developing financing options that favour African women.

In partnership with the African Development Bank, Senegal obtained more than five billion FCFA in financing ($8.9 million US) to offer innovative and tailor-made financial tools designed with women in mind.

The stated goals of these tools include sharing risk between beneficiaries and financial institutions, and providing training.

Mrs. Ndoye realizes that the system for granting credit to women is not perfect. She says CONGAD is aware that the timing of loan repayment often doesn’t take into account the irregularity of women’s income, and that interest rates can be high.

Marieme Wade is the women’s coordinator of the national union of market gardeners in the Niayes Zone. Mrs. Wade regrets the approach of many financial institutions.

She says: “We are being shown the financing facilities offered by mutual associations through the media. But I remain convinced that those who want to reach out to us have not taken the time to assess us and gauge our needs.”

She doesn’t understand financial institutions who say they want to help but ignore the particular needs of women in Thiès. But fortunately, financial institutions are not the only option for women who want to access credit.

Many women have developed informal social assistance and loan initiatives. Mrs. Wade says that more than a decade ago, women market gardeners in the Niayes zone established a crowdfunding group. They started with a daily contribution of 50 FCFA ($0.09 US) in 2011.

Since then, the initiative has found success with market gardeners. She says, “Each contract month, we grant a symbolic loan of 35,000 FCFA ($63 US) to a member, with a low [interest] rate [just 2.5%] repayable over five months.”

Today, the group has a fund of 13 million FCFA ($23,250 US). This enables them to maintain an emergency fund for members who are struggling to pay their dues on time.

The women of Niayes have found success with this initiative and more women are joining. Recently a group of women organic farmers joined the group.

Mrs. Wade explains, “We have granted them a very favourable financing credit schedule. We thrive on crowdfunding, which is today our lever for empowerment.”

While there is no shortage of women who use financial institutions and who are doing well, women producers in Niayes are relying on each other to increase their resources and returns.

Source: Farm Radio International

Kenya: Tortoise Park struggles to stay afloat amidst the global pandemic

A stroll into the tortoise park and rescue centre in Mogotio is nothing short of breathtaking. But behind the scenes is a struggle to keep the 75 tortoises alive so as to continue raising awareness, inspire researches all across the region as well as attract tourists.

Before the pandemic struck, Jacob Toroitich, owner of Equator Tortoise Park would make Sh100,000 on a good day. His target groups were school children and other people visiting the tourist destinations in the North Rift.

Toroitich said the many tortoises that were killed along the busy highway propelled him to start a centre to keep the animals safe. Many of them were also killed by angry farmers protecting their crops.

Read also Kenya to begin expansion of Irrigation Project for rice, eyes 11,000mt

“Overtime, visitors started touring the facility and I started charging some amount to help with sourcing feeds and treating injured tortoises. Kenya Wildlife Service also helped in advising on medication to use on the injured animals,” Toroitich said.

With travel restrictions in place in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus, he says business at the centre that was started in 2008 has been low and running the park has been difficult.

“A well-wisher just gave me his vehicle to go out and source food for the tortoises. The situation is dire since there are no visitors and hotels around have had no bookings,” Toroitich said.

Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform commends COCOBOD on Producer Price increment for 2020/2021 cocoa season

The Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) celebrates the Ghana government’s efforts in ensuring cocoa farmers earn a decent income.

They have followed various steps taken by the government and its Ivorian counterpart resulting in a massive change in the price of cocoa beans, following the introduction of a floor price and a Living Income Differential (LID) to be paid by chocolate and processing companies.

The recent announcement of GHS 660 payment per bag of 64 kilogram of cocoa, which translates into GHS10,560 per a tonne of 16 bags for the 2020/21 crop year, beginning 1st October 2020, is a great milestone, and a show of COCOBOD’s commitment to awarding cocoa farmers the full LID of four hundred United States dollars per metric ton (US$400/MT).

Read also Ghana’s Cocoa Processing Company unveils new depot Kasoa

The GCCP on September 24, 2020, issued a statement indicating our expectation of an increment in the farm gate price which was scheduled to be announced on 1st October 2020.

Though not what we requested for, the recent announcement of GHS 660 per bag of 64kilogram (about 28% increase over the price obtained in the just ended 2019/2020 crop year) of cocoa is not far from our expectation.

Based on the working assumption of the Producer Price Review Committee (PPRC) of COCOBOD, which aims at ensuring that farm gate price is pegged at a minimum of 70% of the net Free on Board (FoB) price of cocoa beans, GCCP was of the opinion that farmers in Ghana receive a minimum of GHS672.6 per bag (64kg) of cocoa beans.

This figure was arrived at using the lowest projected values available, including 80% of the $400 per tonne LID announced in July 2019.

The current price of GHS660 per bag of cocoa beans is commendable, noting that the Ghana Cocoa Board together with its pricing committee (Producer Price Review Committee – PPRC) appears to have offered fully the $400 LID to farmers as agreed on with chocolate and processing companies.

Read also Tanzania: Coffee farmers told to liaise with experts to boost production

This is remarkable as it will cushion farmers in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, this also raises questions about what percentage of FoB price of cocoa was offered to farmers and at what exchange rate?

By our internal projections, it does appear farmers received only 68% of FoB price at an exchange rate of $1: GH5.5, which falls below the PPRC threshold of 70% and far below the current Bank of Ghana year on the year exchange rate of GH5.7. This also raises another transparency issue of publishing the indicative figures that go into deciding the price of cocoa annually.

As we commend the COCOBOD for this milestone, we also wish to point out the following:

The COCOBOD must strengthen its surveillance in order to curtail all factors that could hinder the farmer appreciating fully the LID. We specifically suggest that intensive monitoring at various depots and cocoa-sheds are undertaken, as well as, sensitization of farmers on how to escape weighing scale adjustment fraud by purchasing clerks (PCs) as reported in a 2019 SEND GHANA study.

It is of great importance that the COCOBOD sanctions identified PCs who were caught in the Joy News “Missing Kilos” documentary in August this year as a deterrent to others, while we await the implementation of electronic weighing scales next year.

Read also CARE Ghana & Cargill launches ‘PROSPER’ Initiative to support cocoa farmers in Western North Region

The COCOBOD must ensure that various Productivity Enhancement Programmes benefit all farmers. Inputs distribution program, including fertilizer and mass spraying, must among others be equitably distributed and thus particularly ensuring that women farmers equally benefit since 2019 SEND GHANA study also revealed the increased likelihood of exclusion of female farmers from both the fertilizer input and the mass spraying program.

The COCOBOD must also ensure that farmers whose over-aged and diseased farms are being rehabilitated are compensated appropriately so as to motivate others from participating in the program

We strongly believe that when all these factors are properly addressed and implemented, it will to a greater extent improve farmer’s income and livelihood as anticipated by this price increment.

The Ghana Civil-society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) is an independent campaign and advocacy platform for civil society actors in the cocoa sector – comprising of Civil Society Organizations, Non-governmental Organizations, Community-based Organizations, Farmer-based Organizations, Farmer Associations, Media, and interested individuals.

The main aim of the platform is to advocate and influence cocoa sector policies and programs. GCCP is currently being hosted by SEND Ghana, with membership across the country, especially in cocoa-growing areas.

Managing Family Wealth: How to transfer wealth to your children

When meeting with our clients regarding their estate planning and family wealth management, one of the top requests is to transfer wealth to children and grandchildren.

While the first thought is often to leave assets in a will or trust, why wait? There are several other strategies that make wealth transfer in the present more beneficial and fulfilling, to everyone involved.

Don’t Wait to Structure Your Family Wealth Management
One way to make sure your heirs receive the fruits of your labor is to transfer wealth now, while you are still alive. Gifting assets and/or money now means you can see how your family uses and enjoys the gift.

And perhaps you can help your family when they need it most. It may also reduce or even eliminate estate taxes that your family might have to pay if they received the gift after your passing.

Shifting Your Gifting
When gifting in the present, you are allowed an annual gift exclusion. For 2019, that cap is $15,000 for a single person and $30,000for a married couple.

Outside of the annual exclusion, you are also subject to a lifetime gift tax exclusion, currently set at $11.4 million single/$22.8 million married.

For any gifts over the annual exclusion limits, you will have to file IRS form 709 and the gifts will go towards your lifetime gift tax exclusion. Gifts above the lifetime exclusion are subject to a federal gift tax, currently 40%.

By IRS definitions, a gift is “any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money’s worth) is not received in return.”

Gifts of a value under that exclusion are not taxable to the recipient, however gifts above that exclusion are (if the donor does not pay the tax). Other taxable exclusions include gifts to your spouse, gifts to a political organization, and medical or educational expenses (referred to as the medical and educational exclusions).

Depending on your family and situation, a good family wealth management strategy may be to gift each family member up to the exclusion amount each year. This is often called an annual exclusion gift and does not count against your lifetime gift tax exclusion. You can gift to as many beneficiaries as you like, there is no limit and no restriction to actual family.

Gifting Strategies That Have Big Impact Now
Cover daycare costs, pay for a wedding, plan a family vacation, help with a property down payment, or give your child a boost as he or she starts a business. The opportunities to gift are endless and your family does not have to wait for an inheritance.

Another strategy: transfer ownership of investments to your heirs. The timing is especially important on this one, as the value of the gift will fluctuate at the current value, based on the daily market. But this could be a bonus if you bought the investment at a lower price than its current value.

You are likely in a higher tax bracket than your heirs. By transferring an investment, like a stock, that has appreciated, you won’t have to pay taxes on the gain and the new owner receives the taxable dividends. The cost basis also transfers, so if the new owner sells the investment, he or she will pay taxes on the gain based on the original purchase price.

A Family Wealth Management Plan for the Present
With educational exclusions in mind, consider gifting money into a 529 college savings plan. This can be an excellent part of family wealth management, especially transferring wealth to grandchildren as education costs continue to rise.

And the best part: you can contribute up to five years’ worth of the allowed annual gift exclusion in just one year. So in 2019, you contribute up to $75,000 per person/$150,000 per couple to a 529 plan.

The caveat is that once you make this gift, you would have to wait five years before gifting to the same beneficiary. Otherwise you could potentially incur gift tax implications.

And should you pass away before the five years, the gift could be subject to “recapture,” and thus included in the value of your estate when your estate taxes are calculated.

While the 529 plan was established to be used for qualified college expenses, as of January 1, 2018, up to $10,000 per year per beneficiary can be used toward elementary, secondary, private or religious school.

Help with Medical Costs
Another way to take advantage of exclusions is to assist your child or grandchild with medical costs. As long as the person is not your dependent, you can pay medical bills as a gift.

The key is how the gift is structured: payments must be made directly to the doctor, medical office, hospital, etc. and not to your family member. The medical exclusions gift is not subject the annual or lifetime exclusion cap.

If exclusions are not a concern, but you want to dictate how or when your heirs receive their gifts, a revocable gifting trust is a good option, especially for minors who may not be responsible enough to handle large amounts of money.

Also known as a living trust, you can maintain control and continuously update the trust as your family and needs change. You would make gifts to the trust instead of directly to the benefactors. Distributions can be customized, such as in a lump sum or in increments. Upon your passing, the trust becomes irrevocable.

Family Wealth Management Tips to Transfer Wealth
Before preparing your family wealth management plan, especially gifting in the present, it’s important for you and your financial advisor to go over a few important questions:

How much can you afford to give? There is a difference between being generous and sacrificing your own future financial stability for that of your family. Don’t risk your retirement or short-change yourself on what you will need to thrive and enjoy life once you stop working.

Are you over-giving? Make sure your gifts are as tax beneficial as possible. And that you are not over-giving to your family now so that they will have to in turn support you later. Consider your cash flow and potential cost of living increases.

Will you gift the same to all of your heirs? Some children and grandchildren may be in more of a financial need now, while others may prefer an inheritance later. Or you could do both. Speak with your family and find out the best way to make gifting fair for all.

The Most Valuable Asset Anyone Has
Think about the gifting in the present strategy as a gift of time. You have time to educate your heirs on managing assets, time to explain your intentions and wishes, and time to answer questions throughout the process.


The Great Wealth Transfer – Hovis & Associates

Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1964) and the Silent Generation (those born 1945 and before) share some common characteristics.

They have a strong work ethic, having worked hard for advancement throughout their careers. Often conservative in their spending habits, these generations have amassed great wealth over their lifetimes.

And as they enjoy their retirement years, their estate values continue to grow instead of decline as they age.

As people from these generations begin to pass away, we are starting to experience the biggest wealth transfer in history, and it will continue over the next few decades.

Despite grieving the loss of their loved one, clients are often overwhelmed with the many decisions that need to be made.

We have received calls from several clients in the past year after the loss of a parent or grandparent asking what to do with all they have inherited. They now have this incredible gift and don’t want to waste it.

The first question is often, should I pay off my house? It is quickly followed up with, can I retire now? Hovis & Associates can help answer these questions.

With financial planning, we can show you options on how to put these inherited assets to work for you. We listen to you discuss your goals, gather information to analyze your financial position, and discuss options to best meet your needs.

There is often another factor that younger clients may not be aware of: RMDs or required minimum distributions. If the inherited accounts are IRAs, there are special rules the IRS imposes.

Once a client (or in this case, the deceased loved one) reaches the age of 70 ½, they are required to withdraw funds annually.

Because the money in these accounts has never been taxed, it is considered income and therefore subject to income taxes. If these RMDs are not distributed, the IRS imposes a 50% penalty.

Hovis & Associates can help you manage these accounts to ensure you satisfy the required minimum distributions and don’t incur a penalty.

Managing RMDs and financial planning are just a few of the services Hovis & Associates can provide. If you have questions or need assistance with financial accounts, we are here to help. Call us today to schedule a meeting.


The number one priority of the great wealth transfer for millennials

Topping up pension pots is the number one priority for millennials – who will be the beneficiaries of the greatest wealth transfer in history over the next few decades.

A global poll carried out by deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations, finds that 71% of millennial clients – those born between 1980 and 2000 – will use the money they inherit to boost their retirement income.

The firm surveyed 664 individuals living in the UK, North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, India, ASEAN and East Asia.

Other main priorities included purchasing property, increasing investments to make a sustainable impact and committing to good causes.

Of the survey, Nigel Green, deVere Group CEO and founder, comments:

“The estimated numbers involved in the phenomenon known as the Great Wealth Transfer are staggering.

“According to some estimates, $68 trillion in wealth is to be passed down from the baby boomers – the wealthiest generation ever – to their children and other heirs over the next 30 years. “It’s set to be the biggest-ever wealth transfer in modern history.”

Nigel Green

He continues:

“Millennials are often falsely stereotyped for their sense of entitlement and thought to be more financially reckless than other generations. But with seven out of 10 saying that their number one priority of the inheritance boom is to top up their pension pots, this myth is busted.”

Nigel Green

“The poll proves that millennials aim to have the same or an increased standard of living for themselves and loved ones in retirement.”

Millennials are, typically, financially worse off than those before them. Many are playing ‘catch-up’ compared to their parents due to slower wage growth, higher costs of living and less continually buoyant economic conditions.

As such, says the deVere boss, “a windfall from the richest generation in history will be welcomed and needed by millennials – but seemingly not to be wasted. This is very encouraging.”

But the positive comes with a stark warning.  “Waiting on a windfall should not be anyone’s plan A – it could come too late and other circumstances could make this a financially dangerous plan.

“People need to save and invest for their future sooner rather than later through established financial planning solutions. The earlier you begin, the easier it will be to reach your long-term objectives.”

Mr Green concludes: “The greatest wealth transfer in history is an exciting opportunity for millennials.

“And it seems they are to be led by their core values, relationships and long-term goals to grow and safeguard their wealth.”

Source: PriorConsults

KNUST to be home to an Innovative Training Center for Supply-Chain Management in Africa

United State Agency for International Development (USAID) announced $15 million to support a partnership between Arizona State University and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to create an innovative research and training center to improve African supply-chains.

The new Center for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain-Africa (CARISCA) will train researchers and practitioners

The new Center for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain-Africa (CARISCA) will train researchers and practitioners, produce new research, and translate and apply state-of-the-art research from around the world to improve local supply-chains, particularly in health care and agriculture.

Understanding local needs and improving how local products and services, such as food or critical medical supplies, move from producers to customers is critical to developing strong, self-reliant economies, and for reaching the poor and marginalized across Africa.

Read also Ghana to celebrate Farmers’ Day amid COVID-19 pandemic

Through this partnership, the new research and training center will do the following:

  • Establish Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as Africa’s pre-eminent source of expertise on the sustainable management of supply-chains
  • Become a resource for researchers in Ghana and across Africa to drive innovative research and training to improve African supply-chains, particularly for women and the most-disadvantaged customers and producers;
  • Leverage the private sector, governments, and civil-society partners to connect African businesses, researchers, and practitioners in supply-chain management to global resources.

USAID works strategically with institutions of higher education to bring ingenuity and innovative approaches to solve critical challenges along the Journey to Self-Reliance; Higher-education partnerships can build and strengthen scientific research capacity to fill gaps in knowledge and empower governments, civil society, and the private sector in our partner countries to address their own development challenges.

Read also Ghana youths urged to venture into beekeeping business for self-sufficiency

Source: APO Group

Steps to get Agricultural Loans in Nigeria, Made easy

What does it take to secure Agric loans in Nigeria? Agricultural development has been a matter of serious concern to the Nigerian government.

The need to augment the country’s domestic products through agriculture thus cannot be overemphasized.

Many countries in the world have developed their economy to enviable degrees by cultivating lands and monetizing the products.

Which puts a challenge to Nigeria year after year to move a little concentration from crude oil to agriculture.

The agricultural sector is noted as the highest employer of labor in West Africa. Yet, it is not much more than peasant farming which could barely satisfy the needs of families.

These reasons and more have propelled the Federal Government of Nigeria to start agricultural grants and credit initiatives.

Through the Bank of Agriculture and some other commercial Banks, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mapped out N200 billion for agricultural interest.

These grants are suppose to cover many of these areas of farming:

Types of Farming that gets Agric Loans in Nigeria
: One of the most lucrative farming businesses anyone can think of getting Agric loans in Nigeria for is poultry farming. This type of livestock business does not come easy. The process involves huge capital which is the reason why it is in the list of farming that can be considered for grants.

Pig farming: On the other side of meats is pork emanating from pigs. Described as the better option, but the opportunity to setup a pig farm does not come cheap. So, it stands to be considered for Agric loans in Nigeria.

Cassava: Serving as one of the most versatile farm products, cassava has been in the hem of agricultural products to be developed for extensive use in Nigeria. Biscuits, Bread, etc. These are among the big products that the Federal Governments is urging investors to develop from cassava. That means, your cassava farm proposal will be considered for loan.

Rice: Undoubtedly the most imported and one of the consumed food in Nigeria that leaves the question. When will Nigeria cultivate enough to stop depending on other countries for rice sustenance? The need to develop Nigeria’s rice farm culture is obvious and welcomed. Rice farming is among the farming business that is legible for loan.

Palm tree: Before 1934, Nigeria was the highest exporter of palm nuts, a product of palm tree. Today, Nigeria is making about 18% of palm products exportation. The chance to get back to where she used to be depends on the cultivating efforts of palm tree farmers. Nigerian government has been promising loans to anyone who has interest in developing a palm tree farm.

There are so many other farm opportunities to be reckoned with. Whichever one you choose, follow the steps below to get the fund you need to cultivate it.

Bank of Agriculture
The Bank of Agriculture (BoA) was established to help farmers develop their fields to any extent possible by giving low interest loans to qualified applicants.

The process of borrowing from BOA is not rigid. BOA operates at a level of direct lending, on lending, collaboration, and credit monitoring.

Requirements For Loans

  • Loan Rate: Microcredit Agric and collaboration – 12%.
  • Loan condition: Lien deposits – 20%
  • Customer account relationship – 6 months.
  • Deposit Rate: Interest Rate 2%.

A lot of other things are negotiable, but remember; your loan credibility depends much on the evidence that you have what it takes to execute your agricultural proposal. You can reach BoA on 07042262222, 07040202222.

Agric loan is not exclusive to BoA, other commercial Banks have been partnering with the FG to assist Farmers. For instance Union Bank which offers Agricultural financing to Agribusinesses, from small to big.

But the starting point is providing evidence of ownership or right to use whatever portion of land you plan to use. Then you can choose from their Loan facilities what you really want:

  • Short Term Loan: Which covers a short period of time, say- 1 or 2 years.
  • Medium Term Loan: This type of Loan exceeds the period of 1 to 2 years. Sometimes, it lasts up to 4 years due to the technicalities involved in the business it is being funded with.
  • Long Term Loan: This type of loan is for Agric products that take longer time to mature.
  • Fixed Capital: Farmers get this type of Loan to enable them establish fixed assets on their farms.
  • Working capital Facility: This Loan is given to enable Farmers shoulder their day to responsibility in the farm.

Whatever your objective is, these facilities will enable you to achieve it, so far you meet up with these requirements:

  • Open an account with Union Bank
  • Submit a Loan application to the branch’s Business Development Manager
  • Pay 10% of the total fund you applied for
  • State the purpose of the Loan
  • Method of your farm production
  • Yields as expected
  • Your repayment plan

This setting is exclusive to individuals only. For Limited Liability companies and corporate organizations, there are only 2 steps:

  • Submit a loan application written with the company’s letter head to the Branch. It must be duly signed by the company’s representatives.
  • Submit detailed report on feasibility studies

There are other banks that offer credit facilities for farming in Nigeria, UBA, First Bank, Stanbic IBTC etc. Feel free to walk into any of the Banks and inquire of their procedure

Centre for Child Protection and Development Africa creates opportunities for women in agribusiness

The Centre for Child Protection and Development Africa (CCPDA) has adopted a strategy to increase opportunities for women in the agricultural value chain to improve on their income.

Mrs Mavis Owiredu Nagel, the Founder of CCPDA, said the Women’s Alternative Livelihood through Agriculture (WALA) value-chain project would increase women’s social and economic empowerment, especially in rural Ghana.

“Rural women face multiple barriers to social and economic development that prevents them from benefiting from the economic changes in Ghana,” she said.

The WALA project aims to promote more equitable gender relations at the household level and effective producer groups resulting in increased income for members at the community level, Mrs Owiredu Nagel said.

“It will also create an enabling environment focusing on current governmental policies and socio-economic development plans,’’ she said.

Madam Princess Antwi, the Executive Director of CCPDA, said the project was being implemented in the Western Region and that interventions would focus on Agri-production, one of the most important value chains in the Region.

It would also address gender-based barriers to women’s full participation in the value chain and link them up with producers and entrepreneurs to increase their collective action to strengthen their businesses, she said.

Madam Antwi said CCPDA intervention would enable women farmers to control their resources, a vital point in achieving not only the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal-5 (Gender Equality and Empowering Women and Girls), but also help achieve the Goals 1 and 2, – Eliminating Poverty, and Ending Hunger.

Ghana youths urged to venture into beekeeping business for self-sufficiency

The Founder of Effort Beekeepers Association in the South Dayi District, Mr Hayford Yao Dometi, has called on the youth to engage in bee-keeping as a business to enhance their self-sufficiency.

He said bee-keeping was a lucrative business, which generated lots of income within a short period of time, a venture the youth could excel in.

Mr Dometi was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Tongor-Dzemeni in the South Dayi District of the Volta Region during a one-day training workshop for members of the Association and new entrants.

He said the training aimed at broadening the scope of knowledge and skills, capacity building of members of the Association on the dwindling bee population resulting from the use of agrochemicals and how to keep themselves in the business of agriculture.

It was also to provide adequate training for new entrants and equip them with the requisite skills on best practices of bee-keeping and how to produce more honey to maximise profits.

Read also Unemployment, Increasing demand for honey; time to invest into beekeeping industry in Ghana?

Mr Dometi said the country’s numerous vegetation cover had a lot of nectariferous trees for bees to feed on, and provided a great opportunity for the youth to enter into the business to transform their lives and accelerate socio-economic growth.

He said the unemployment situation in the country could reduce drastically if the youth were willing to venture into apiculture tapping into bee rearing skills taking advantage of the country’s vast arable land for bee production and other agricultural activities.

Mr Andrews Agbemavor Kpeli, a participant, speaking to the GNA, commended the organisers of the workshop, saying he had acquired much knowledge during the training and would put them to good use.

He said he would also share with friends and families skills acquired at the training to encourage them to go into the apiary business as it would put them on a sound footing and reduce poverty.

Mr Kpeli who is also a retired educationist said the youth had to be educated to know that “it is not about white color jobs, but what you can do on your own to become self-reliant” and advised the citizenry, especially the youth to go into agriculture to transform their lives.

Read also Exploring the amazing world of honeybee and the lucrative opportunities it presents

Mr Wisdom Agbenorxe, another participant described the training as helpful, saying it had enlightened him more on the occupation and the numerous benefits it entailed, and expressed gratitude to the event organisers.

The participants were taken through apiary and beehive preparation, beehive, catcher box and top-bar settings, scouting, baiting, transfer of colony, honey processing and packaging among others.

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