Strong partnership needed to transform agricultural sector – Minister

women-farmingA government official on Wednesday called for a stronger partnership from the private sector particularly financial institutions like the banks to help transform the agricultural sector and to make it more attractive.

Mr Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture, who said this in a speech read on his behalf, said the partnership had become necessary if the agricultural sector was to become competitive.

He was speaking at a day’s programme organised by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with support from the German International Co-operation (GIZ) for senior managers of universal banks.

The programme, which was on the theme: “Financing Opportunities in Agricultural Value Chains in Ghana”, was to create the awareness for financing private investment in the country’s agricultural sector.

Mr Humado said though the sector had lost its position as the number one contributor to Ghana’s foreign exchange earnings, he stressed that it was a major contributor to Ghana’s foreign exchange earnings.

“To maintain a consistent pattern of growth, all of us should work hard to attain and sustain the ultimate annual targets of six to eight per cent growth envisaged in the sector’s policies and strategies”, he said.

Mr Humado said Government was making direct strategic interventions to increase agricultural financing in the country.

He said the expansion of the operations of the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund to increase financing to agriculture and agro-processing was an example of such strategic interventions.

Nana Osei Bonsu, Director-General of the Private Enterprise Foundation, called on banks to employ a syndicated approach within the financial institutions to leverage resources to invest in the agricultural sector.

He said many productive economic activities existed in the agricultural sector and urged the banks to take up such opportunities.

Nana Osei Bonsu said, “You don’t need to wait for foreign companies to take up the opportunities before you cry foul. You can do it”.

He challenged the government to provide long-term financial products to finance value-chain agriculture.

Nana Osei Bonsu expressed dissatisfaction that the agricultural sector had not been developed to its full potential.

Dr Paul Schuetz, Programme Manager of the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme of GIZ, noted that it was when all stakeholders in the sector had developed their capacities and risk reduction measures as well as made long term funds available for agricultural lending that banks would be attracted to take advantage of the financing opportunities in the agricultural value chain and increase the levels of financing to the sector.

Source: GNA

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