The Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, has called for increased investments in agriculture to boost productivity of the sector.
He said investments in machinery and other forms of technology would mechanise the work of the sector and significantly increase farmer productivity.
“We cannot call ourselves a nation if we cannot cultivate the arable land and feed ourselves,” Nana Nketsia said at the opening of the 87th branch of the Agricultural Development Bank PLC in the Takoradi central business district.
Nana Nketsia said activities of farmers and the fisheries sector remained one of the most important areas that required the needed financial support, adding that “let the farmer and the fisherman remain in focus”.
He, therefore, welcomed the expansion of ADB to the CBD, adding that due to the large contribution of the informal sector to the economy, the establishment of a specialised bank to provide credit and other banking facilities to the agricultural sector as well as support other players in the value chain, such as traders, was an important service.
“As the people’s bank, harnessing the transformational power of agribusiness for wealth creation, I urge you to make your financial services easily accessible to the charcoal, tomato and okro sellers and other traders at the marketplace to enable them to come closer to do business with you,” Nana Nketsia said.
The Essikado paramount chief also urged ADB to remain a strong customer-centric bank in providing profitable and diversified financial services for many sectors of the economy, especially agricultural development.
The Managing Director of ADB PLC, Dr John Kofi Mensah, said since its inception in the region, nearly three decades ago, the bank had established branches at Agona Nkwanta, Takoradi Harbour, GREL Apimanim, with the fourth one at Market Circle branch in the Western Region.
The branch, he said, was a testament that the people in the Western Region patronised ADB’s services, hence the need for more branches.
“It is part of our aggressive branch expansion drive to increase our branch network locations to 100 in the nearest future,” the managing director said.
“Looking at the trend, particularly at all sectors, there is the need to get closer to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and support the agricultural value chain businesses for value maximisation for wealth and job creation,” he said.
Dr Mensah said the new branch was the result of heeding the clarion call by customers within Market Circle and its environs for ADB to open a branch in the CBD.
Dr Mensah said the branch was poised to satisfy the needs of the numerous customers as the team opened its doors for more customers to open accounts with ADB to do business and enjoy its unique products and services which the bank strategically self-assured to provide.
“We remain the only bank in the country with the utmost commitment towards the agribusiness sector and this we have clearly delivered,” he said.
The managing director enumerated some support the bank had given to other sectors such as supporting the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to purchase 1,300 outboard motors for the fishing industry and GH¢100 million for the government's one-district, one-factory (1DIF) initiative.
Dr Mensah gave an assurance that ADB would remain committed to the agricultural sector.