Cape Coast,- The Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Dr John Kofi Mensah, has reiterated the Bank’s commitment to supporting agribusiness entrepreneurs to create wealth and grow the economy in 2022 and beyond.
He said the ADB remained a leading lender to the agricultural sector in the country and was determined to focus more on the private sector businesses within the agricultural value chain.
“We want to invest in a new generation of agric-entrepreneurs whose interest will be in agribusiness to create wealth and accelerate economic growth.
“This is part of the five-year strategic plan of the Bank’s, Agribusiness Division to grow the total loan portfolio by 50 percent by the year 2022,” he noted.
Dr Mensah gave the assurance at the National Farmers’ Day Forum held in Cape Coast as part of activities of the 37th Farmers’ Day celebration and Trade Exhibitions on the theme: “Planting for Food and Jobs – Consolidating food systems in Ghana”.
The forum assembled all current and former award winners, partners, and key stakeholders in the agricultural value chain to discuss issues affecting the progress of the sector and solicited views on the way forward.
Dr Mensah said until the end of 2017, the bank’s focus on agriculture was minimal, but since then “the ADB has repositioned itself to be more responsive to supporting agriculture in the country.
The bank had therefore expanded its Agriculture Department and attached an Agricultural Business Division which is decentralised and headed by a general manager with dedicated agricultural desk officers at selected branches nationwide.
The Agribusiness Division has been departmentalised into Agricultural Value Chain and Agricultural Services Departments, which captures all the sectors in agriculture.
The department is available to facilitate loans and offer advisory services to customers in the crops, livestock, poultry, marine, cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and other export commodities.
He explained that from an initial loan portfolio of 20 percent for the agricultural sector, the bank could now boast a 50 percent loan portfolio for the sector.
“So the direction the bank is going means that we are refocusing on agriculture, as our core mandate, tells us” he explained.
The ADB Managing Director, announced that the bank was working to reduce interest rates, increase value chain financing and entrepreneurship development schemes in Agribusiness for the Youth.
It will expanded out grower and In-grower Schemes, green climate practices, seek concessional funding for on-lending to agribusiness and support government in the supply of fishing gears, especially outboard motors to our dear fishers.
To reduce the cost of finance, he said: “as partners in the agricultural sector, the Bank will continue to explore cheaper sources of funds to make it possible to give loans to our Farmers and Fishers at reduced interests rates,” he assured.
The Bank through the government’s One District One Factory (1D1F) initiative had disbursed more than GH¢100 million to different companies to develop their factories and industries through the Outgrower Support Scheme.
The out-grower support Scheme has helped create jobs in catchment areas of companies such as the Ekumfi Juice and Fruits Factory and the Weddi Africa Tomatoes Factory.
Dr Mensah recognized the onerous role of Farmers in positioning the agricultural sector as the backbone of the Ghanaian economy and urged them to take advantage of loan facilities to expand their operations.
“Our Farmers and Fishers have provided the nutritional needs of the country at a time that we needed it most, provided raw materials for our fledging industries most of which rely on agricultural raw materials.
“They have provided employment to Ghanaians and also the necessary foreign exchange to improve the Ghanaian economy”, he added.
He commended the Ministry and allied institutions for the hard work in ensuring the success of the several interventions and programmes especially the Planting for Food and Jobs initiatives.
Source: Ghana News Agency