One hundred members of the Irrigation Company of the Upper Region (ICOUR) Women Farmers Association based in the Tono Irrigation area in the Upper East Region have paid back all the credit facilities they received from the Akuafo Nketewa Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG).
The beneficiary women farmers were expected to pay back over GH¢ 20,000 worth of NPK fertilizers they were provided with by the Company in the form of loans to support their farming activities within 12 months. However by the 10th month the women paid back all the loans in cash in spite of the challenges they faced during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lock down period.
At a meeting held at Navrongo on Saturday, December 26, 2020 to promote an interaction between the beneficiaries, the PFAG and its partners as well as to discuss the way forward for the farmers, the Head of Programmes and Advocacy of the PFAG, Dr Charles Nyaaba said the successes chalked up by the group indicated that the popular saying that “farmers do not pay back loans” is not entirely true.
Dr Charles Nyaaba explaining a point
He explained that the reason some farmers are not able to pay back credit facilities provided them is that either the facilities were not given at the right time or that the facilities provided do not meet the quality required by the farmers to get the needed yield to enable them pay back the facilities.
“This year the farming season coincided with the COVID-19 lockdown which also came with the financial sector challenges and so farmers could not get the needed resources to boost their farming activities," Dr Nyaaba further noted.
He therefore called on government, the private sector and financial institutions to provide more support to farmers saying “if they cannot do it directly, they should channel it through the PFAG because we are there to hold it in trust for them".
He also encouraged the women to document their respective needs and personal details for more support in the next farming season.
The Accountant and Administrative Officer of the Akuafo Nketewa Company,Miss Patience Ayitey, stated that from all indications, the beneficiaries and the group in general has made her outfit “a priority in their scale of preference and we will also make sure we consider them as a priority on our scale of preference as a Company”.
A section of the beneficiaries
“We are really thrilled by this performance and we must admit they exceeded our expectations," Miss Ayitey further observed.
According to her the Company was set up to provide support services to Peasant farmers in the country.
Some of the beneficiaries, Ms Agebase Atiyaba,Ms Azumah Kaboke and Ms Yaa Ageya expressed gratitude to the PFAG and the Akuafo Nketewa Company for the support.
They however appealed to the Company to support the women in the area of tractor services, Agro chemicals, fertilizers and threshers to boost the next farming season.
A Nucleus Farmer and Coordinator of the various women farming groups, Mr Richard Akoka noted that he faced challenges getting credit facilities for the women and that but for the timely intervention of the PFAG and its subsidiary, the women could not have produced anything this farming season.
He explained that the 500 bags of the 25 kilogrammes of the NPK fertilizers provided them made the women to produce in spite of the COVID-19 challenges.
He encouraged other benevolent organizations and financial institutions to support these women because since he started working with them in 2012, they have been very honest, hardworking and loyal in their dealings with individuals and institutions that support them.