Dr Segenet Kelemu, Vice President for Programmes at the Alliance for Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA), has said they are in discussions with management of Stanbic Bank to repackage credit facilities for farmers.
She said the two institutions had agreed to support farmers to access loan packages to boost agriculture but its project partners have raised concerns about the inability of farmers to meet the current terms and conditions of the credit facility.
She said it was important for small holder farmers in Ghana especially those in the three Northern Regions to be able to contract flexible loans to embark on their farming activities but the main concern was the high interest rates.
Dr Kelemu said this to the GNA after she led a team including Dr Bashir Jama, AGRA West Africa Director, to pay a working visit to its partners implementing the Agriculture Value Chain Mentorship Project (AVCMP) in Nyankpala.
AVCMP , the 17-million Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) funded project, is aimed at contributing towards government’s objective to becoming an agro-industrial economy by strengthening the capacity of agro-dealers, small medium enterprises, FBOs to ensure a highly productive, efficient, competitive and sustainable system.
It has three components being jointly implemented by SARI of CSIR, the International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC) and the Ghana Agricultural Associations’ Business Information Center (GAABIC).
Dr Kelemu said access to finance was one of the key challenges hence the introduction of the credit facility to increase agricultural productivity, ensure food security and reduce poverty.
She called on the implementing partners to coordinate their activities to build linkages to ensure the success of the project.
Dr Stephen Nutsugah, the Director of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute at the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (SARI of CSIR), said the project was addressing challenges including poor soil health, low use of improved seeds and fertilizers, poor crop management practices, insufficient agriculture marketing system, limited access to credit and high transaction costs.
He said the project had increased agro-dealer access to farm inputs for marketing to small-holder farmers in about 16 districts in the region.
Dr Nutsugah said other partners had trained and certified 267 on technical and business management skills while 16 agro-dealers had also been trained on Business Development Services to serve as model enterprises.