The Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF) has initiated a project to provide financial and technical resources to budding entrepreneurs.
The project, dubbed GEDI, seeks to create jobs for unemployed graduates in the country. Under the initiative, successful applicants will receive funding not exceeding GH¢100,000 to implement their ideas.
The Manager of Corporate Trade of EDAIF, Mr Frank Obeng, announced the initiative at a day’s workshop organised by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) for its members in the agri-business sector, last Wednesday in Accra.
The workshop, on the theme “Agribusiness Financing”, brought together over 50 CEOs, directors and managers of the sector. Mr Obeng further stated that beneficiaries of the project would also receive mentoring from industry experts to equip them in their various ventures.
He said his outfit had so far received 90 applications in response to a national call for proposals out of which 20 applicants would be chosen for support under the first phase of the initiative this year.
The Chairman of Agri-business Sector of the AGI, Mr Winfred Osei Owusu, in his welcoming address, said the meeting was to explore ways to address the financial needs of the agricultural sector.
He said the AGI decided to bring on board some financial institutions that had developed models and interventions that worked in the agri-business to share their experience with them to help members to choose the best options out of the lot.
Invest in agricultural sector
In his presentation, the Chief of Party of the USAID Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID- FinGAP), Mr Rick Dviron, called on financial institutions in Ghana to invest in agri-business.
He debunked the notion that the sector was a risky venture to finance, adding that agri-business was like any other business venture.
Mr Dviron said since every risk could be managed; the risk in the agricultural sector could be managed through the Ghana Agricultural Insurance Policy. He said the insurance guaranteed over 75 per cent of loans.
Mr Dviron urged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to encourage the youth to venture into the agricultural sector since a number of people were leaving the sector to look for green pastures elsewhere.
He stressed that the agricultural sector would be faced with challenges if the youth were not advised to get into it because the agricultural working population was getting older and soon would be out of the field.
USAID- FinGAP is a project which seeks to identify and develop agri-business opportunities and facilitate investments from financial institutions through the use of business advisory service providers.