Increase support to agric sector - President urges financial institutions
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged financial institutions to offer more support to agriculture and agri-businesses to grow the sector.
He described as disturbing the low level of credit facilities to the sector and said if more was offered to the industry, it would help increase the GDP growth of the country.
President Akufo-Addo was responding to some issues that came up during a panel discussion at the second Presidential breakfast meeting on agriculture and agribusiness financing in Accra yesterday.
In attendance were chief executives of financial institutions and other stakeholders who discussed ways to unlock opportunities for greater mobilisation of resources to support the agriculture sector by fostering collaborations for the mutual benefit of the food and agricultural sector and financial institutions.
For instance, the President said that the ADB Bank provided only 24 per cent of its loan portfolio to the agricultural sector.
Others are Fidelity Bank, 10 per cent; Ghana Commercial Bank, 25 per cent, while Opportunity International, a savings and loans company, disburses about 27 per cent of its loan portfolio to 22,000 farmers.
“There are 3.5 million farmers in Ghana who are able to get 27 per cent of your loan portfolio. With respect, my understanding is that we are scratching the surface of the problem,” the President said, adding that there were issues “we need to come to grips with and pool our resources, expertise and talents together to resolve”.
President Akufo-Addo further described farmers in the country as hardworking who needed the support of the financial institutions to increase their capacity and yields.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Brian Acheampong, said the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme had been transformed into an input credit system.
“We, therefore, expect a similar course correction on your part, our distinguished bankers as partners who are not only driven by profit, but also by our collective national development agenda,” adding “we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect different results”.
Dr Acheampong said while the country consumed a total of 324,000 metric tonnes of poultry, it was able to produce only about 15,000 metric tonnes.
He, however, said that in the ministry’s five-year plan “we will move our self-sufficiency from five per cent to seven per cent by the end of 2023, and to 13 per cent in 2024, and progressively attain full self-sufficiency of 110.6 per cent by 2028”.
In line with that, the minister said his outfit would supply 4.5 million day-old chicks, vaccines and starter pack feed to anchor farmers and their outgrowers from now to December 2023.
The intervention is envisaged to lead to the production of an additional 13, 200 metric tonnes of poultry meat by the end of this year, which, he said would increase the self-sufficiency of the country to seven per cent.
“In 2024, we would ramp up this support to 18 million day-old chicks, vaccines, and starter-pack feed, which will lead to the production of 42,600 metric tonnes of meat and increase our self-sufficiency to 13 per cent. This trajectory will continue until we reach full self-sufficiency.
“We are also reviving the poultry industry this year through the rehabilitation of 300 outgrower poultry farms across the country over the next 12 months,” Dr Acheampong added.
He further said that the rice sector was also receiving the needed attention to attain self-sufficiency in 2028 with a total paddy production of 3.31 million metric tonnes, equivalent to 1.82 million metric tonnes of milled rice.