By Cecil Mensah
Stakeholders at a forum organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and sponsored by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), had the rude shock of their lives, when it came to the fore that no bank in the country, offers Agricultural financing unit that advance credit to farmers.
The stakeholders, particularly drawn from the Agricultural Extension Directorate of the Ministry to deliberate on the successes chalked by the Ghana Policy Hub Programme, banks like Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), National Investment Development (NIB) and the defunct Cooperative Bank, were established to boost agricultural development.
The stakeholders said, over time these banks, have realized that there are so many risks in offering credits to the sector, hence the need for the banks to transform into universal banks.
Along the line, these banks that are supposed to drive the agri-business sector of the economy, acquired licenses as universal banks, thereby doing mainstream banking business.
The stakeholders, further stated that no bank operating in the country has a credit officer that understands the risks involved in agriculture to better come out with some tailor-made products to support the need of farmers across the country.
Addressing the participants at the forum, a Deputy Minister in-Charge of Crops at the Ministry, Dr. Yakubu Alhassan, assured that the country wouldl soon shift from the Agricultural production to value chain approach to boost Agri-businesses in the country.
He added that, this means that value would be added in the adaptation of the climate change challenges to improve upon policies for soil health technologies.
According to him, this will enhance environmental sustainability and remove some of the teething difficulties confronting the sector.
The Minister, took the opportunity to commend the management of AGRA for providing useful insights that has gone a long way in sustaining
Agriculture sector of the country.
He said, AGRA, has been forthcoming with fund for policy reforms and transformations at the Ministry over the past five years.
He noted that countries like Ethiopia and Kenya have been able to implement policies such the Agriculture Strategic Reforms and it is giving inputs to the areas that need help.
He said under partnership with AGRA District Directors of Agriculture will no longer wait for directives from the Ministry before taking decisions on peculiar issues affecting farmers in their districts.
He explained that hitherto all the policies reforms were taken at the national level and foisted down the throat of the district directors.
He said now the districts directors are at liberty to fashion out their own programmes of needs without the express consent of the Ministry.
In an earlier statement, Prof Ndri Konan, Programme Officer of AGRA said his outfit will continue to support policy regulations and reforms in the country.
He said his outfit will continue to support policy and regulatory reforms in agricultural for sustainable growth of the sector.
He explained that green revolution was the transformation of the agricultural sector for sustainable advancement for the sector’s development.
Speakers upon speakers, took turn to deliberate on the work supported by AGARA in the areas of Market Node coordination, Land Node Coordination, Environment climate change node, Soil health node and Seed node.