Solidaridad West Africa, a Civil Society Organization (CSO) dedicated to the development and promotion of socially responsible and profitable supply chain, has given a total of GH¢6,712,800.00 as loans to smallholder farmers in the Ashanti and Ahafo Regions.
The monies were issued to some 3,375 farmers between the period of August 2018 and February 2020.
Mr Kwadwo Boadi Mensah, Business Incubation Officer at Solidaridad, who made this known, said the gesture formed part of efforts to increase access to credit for smallholder farmers to improve on their farming businesses.
He said 58 per cent of the beneficiaries were women, who were mostly engaged in trading in addition to their regular farming activities.
Speaking at a risks, challenges and opportunities in financing smallholder farmers in the cocoa sector workshop in Kumasi, he said the recovery rate of the loans was 98 per cent.
The workshop was to equip staff of Pan African Savings and Loans (PASL), which was collaborating with Solidaridad in the disbursement of the loans, to properly assess the credit needs of smallholder farmers.
Due to the inability of smallholder farmers to provide collateral for credit, Solidaridad supported smallholder farmers to establish Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), which provided smallholder farmers the opportunity to establish good savings and credit history, as a way of minimizing the risks associated with lending from PASL.
Mr Mensah said due to the success story of the partnership with PASL, other financial institutions had expressed interest in financing smallholder farmers under Solidaridad’s Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP), and the Sustainable West African Oil Palm Programme (SWAPP).
The two projects, he said would help provide 200,000 cocoa and oil palm farmers with loans and other financial services within the next five years.
Mr Isaac Nuako, Head of Credit, PASL, said the target was to provide about 10,000 smallholder farmers with flexible loans within the next two years.