Ghana banks challenged to promote agriculture ventures
The District Chief Executive (DCE) of Kwaebibirem, in the Eastern region, Mr George Agyemang Duah, at the weekend, called on financial institutions to promote agricultural activities in the country, through input credit facilities to farmers.
“Its time for all Financial Institutions to respond positively to the improved Macro-Economic environment in the country, by bringing lending rates down to enable small scale farmers to grow.
“The country’s economy could only grow if the Financial Institutions supported farmers with long-term credit facilities to grow,” Mr Agyemang Duah stated at Kade to outdoor the Kwaebibirem Agape Project (KAP) for farmers.
The job creation and empowerment project is being undertaken by KAP, in collaboration with International Charity for Africa (ICA), a Canadian NGO, and seeks to mobilize and assist farmers to cultivate vegetables for export, in the Kwaebibirem district.
The DCE urged the banks to integrate their financial support scheme with assistance packages for agriculture-related activities, as that was the leading economic activity in the country.
“It is even more compelling for you to provide special loan packages on favourable terms to farmers,” he said.
He noted that government had amply demonstrated its readiness to provide employment for Ghanaians through pragmatic efforts at state and private sectors of the economy.
Mr Agyemang Duah commended KAP for initiating the farmers mobilization and job creation project, which falls in line with Governments job creation policy of the Better Ghana Agenda.
Mr Edward Kofi Ametepe, District Director of the Ministry Food and Agriculture, challenged the youth to take advantage of the Agriculture project, saying, it was the best strategy by a government to provide employment for the teeming youth.
He noted that, the policy would also enable the government to succeed in luring those engaged in menial jobs in urban centres back to their communities to contribute to the development process.
Mr Ametepe urged the youth to discard the erroneous notion that agriculture was the preserve of school dropouts and the handicapped.
Mr Anthony Obeng Afrane, Founder and Executive Director of Kwaebibirem Agape Project identified unemployment and poverty as the bane of Africa’s development and called on international donor agencies to assist non-governmental organisations to compliment government’s efforts.
He said: “the obvious solution to poverty is creating employment ventures…if we want to drastically reduce poverty in this country then there must be the need to empower our rural folks to engage in a more financially viable way of farming so they could realize much from their sweat”.
Mr Afrane said the project established over the last eight months has engaged and helped about 200 farmers to cultivate over 200 acres of vegetables.
Anne Griffore and Shawn Crocker of International Charity for Africa said their NGO focuses on delivering community level poverty alleviation support, through small enterprise economic development.
ICA provides tools, small-business coaching and skills training to promising entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa, so that they will grow their small businesses, and in turn, create meaningful employment opportunities for the people in Africa, to help reduce poverty on the continent.
ICA’s approach is that, when people earn fair wages, they are able to provide their families with fundamental needs, such as food, housing, clothing, health, and education.
Other speakers were Dr Paul Kwasi Ntaanu, President of African Silk Network, and also a consultant of FAO and Mrs Juliana Opuni, of the Vegetables Exporters Association of Ghana.