ADB loans for agric sector hits over GH¢1bn — Managing Director
The agricultural sector loan portfolio of the Agricultural Development Bank has hit over GH¢1 billion cedis, the Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu-Tali, has said.
The amount excludes non-funded facilities such as letters of credit and guarantees granted for the purchase of agricultural inputs, machinery, equipment and raw materials.
Huge investment over the years formed part of strategies to refocus the bank on its original mandate to provide financial intermediation to the agricultural sector.
The MD disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, to congratulate him on his appointment.
He said due to challenges and the increasing level of risk in the agricultural sector, some financial institutions, including banks usually shied away from investing in the sector.
Alhaji Yakubu-Tali, however, said that for ADB, such challenges presented enormous opportunities for the bank to continue to leverage.
He said ADB had positioned itself as the Bank of Choice when it came to agricultural financing which was key in facilitating the growth of the economy.
The MD further said that ADB had been a leader in providing financial support for initiatives in the agricultural sector such as Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), and One District One Factory (1D1F).
“Under planting for food and jobs and 1DF1, the bank invested over GH¢251.83 million to support many viable projects such as the purchase of fertilisers and certified seeds, among others.
“To guarantee food security, the bank, between 2018 to date, has disbursed in excess of GH¢460 million to NAFCO (Buffer Stock) to ensure constant food supplies under the free SHS programme,” he added.
In the fishing sector, the bank, in partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Coastal Development Authority, supported the importation of 1,300 Yamaha outboard motors, as well as fishing gear for fishers at a cost either under lease financing or through direct sales.
The bank also absorbed all incidental and related costs amounting to about GH¢7.0 million, while the tree crop sub-sector was supported with a total of over GH¢485 million for rubber, oil palm and mango plantations.
Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu-Tali further said that as a strategy, ADB had partnered risk sharing incentive entities such as GIRSAL, to reduce the risk burden on the bank as it sought to further grow its investment in the agricultural sector.
According to him, the bank had since 1987 been the lead sponsor of the National Best Farmer Awards, a commitment to the sector.
“The Bank’s association and continuous sponsorship of these events over the years is an undeniable evidence of its promise to support farmers and fishers and remain focused on its founding mandate to provide financial intermediation to the agricultural sector,” he said.
The MD gave the assurance that the bank would continue to partner the government to ensure food security in the country.
For his part, the minister said his outfit would continue to collaborate with the bank and other stakeholders to offer more support such as inputs and credit facilities to farmers.
He said the ministry was also developing a four-year step-by-step roadmap to ensure the nation matches its production to industry.
“MoFA is committed to strengthening its relationship with ADB to ensure farmers get what is needed to increase production,” Mr Acheampong added.