The Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF), an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Saturday inaugurated an office complex in Tamale to serve the Savannah belt including the three northern regions in investment and agricultural credits to reduce poverty and enhance growth.
The launch of the Northern Zonal office also saw the launch of the agriculture and agro-processing development and credit facility to provide financial resources for the development and promotion of the country’s agriculture relating to agro-processing and agro-processing industry.
Professor Francis Dodoo, Board Chairman of EDAIF, who inaugurated the office, said 765 export oriented projects had been supported by EDAIF to the tune of GH¢293.52 million with a total of GH¢206.72 million used for the funding of Export Credit and Projects Facility where 286 projects had been supported.
The colourful ceremony was attended by chiefs and people of the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions as the fund would benefit the entire savannah zone.
Prof. Dodoo said under the Export Development and Promotion Facility, GHc86.80 million had gone into the funding of 479 projects to contribute to the development of Ghana’s non-traditional export sector with earnings rising from $459.60 million in 2001 to $2.43 billion in 2011.
“We are conscious of the fact that with over 60% of our people involved in agriculture, one can predict that EDAIF will be making a significant contribution to the enhancement of rural lives and indirectly the reduction of the crushing poverty that is afflicting many of our rural compatriots,” he said.
Prof. Dodoo said the facility was but many of the interventions that government has introduced into the agricultural sector stressing that many of the past interventions were either donor-funded or donor-instigated noting that the facility was wholly Ghanaian enterprise both in conception and execution.
Madam Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry in a speech read for her said in the year 2000, the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) was established by Act 582 to provide financial resources for the development and promotion of export trade.
She said in October 2011, Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund Act 823, introduced an amendment of Act 582 to include the provision of financial resources for the development and promotion of agriculture relating to agro-processing and the agro-processing industry thus the rename; Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF).
She said with the commissioning of the new office, farmers who wish to access EDAIF funds no longer had to make the long and tortuous journey to Accra to apply for financial support, noting that “This has been equipped to deal with all the needs of exporters and agriculturalists and agro-processors in the Northern Savanna belt”.
Alhaji Gilbert Seidu Iddi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), who chaired the function, expressed the need for EDAIF and SADA to collaborate effectively for mutual benefits.
He said the two institutions had much in common in addressing the difficulties and problems farmers in the Savannah belt go through so as to maximize the benefits to ensure that farmers were able to increase their production and enhance growth.
Alhaji Iddi said one of the major areas of their collaboration would be in the areas of the butter nut squash production, which had gained renew potential in the Savannah belt and urged farmers to garner efforts to produce the crop in the coming days.