Antika receives four tractors to boost seed production

Wa, Antika Company Limited on Thursday received four tractors and tractor related equipment to help increase the production of high quality seeds for smallholder farmers.

The vehicles and equipment were financed under the USAID Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) Project’s Seed Sector Loan Support Programme (SSLSP) which is being partnered by USAID Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (FinGAP) and Barclays Bank.

ATT is supporting Antika Company with 15 per cent of the loan principal which will be used to reduce the total interest repayable on the loan, FinGAP bore the cost of the Business Advisory Service institution that facilitated the granting of the loan by Barclays Bank.

Dr Gary R. Mullins, Chief of Party, USAID Ghana ATT Project, said ATT has always taken a value chain approach in an industry with many related sectors.

He expressed happiness that with funding from USAID, they have been able to supply many of those sectors with various inputs such as planters, seed processors, lab equipment and motor bikes among others.

Dr Mullins said in all these, what they found still missing was the issue of finance, hence the need for ATT to search for partners with expertise.

Because it will be on the back of a strong seed sector that Ghana’s agricultural productivity would improve and thereby eliminate the seasonal hunger and perpetual poverty that has plagued many rural households in northern Ghana, Dr Mullins said.

Dr Victor Antwi, USAID FinGAP Deputy Chief of Party and Manager, Agribusiness Opportunities Development Unit, said so far 125 million dollars have been invested into the rice, maize and soy value chain within the last three and half years.

He said over 124,000 smallholder farmers have so far benefited over the period.

Mr Robert Pusabaduap, Barclays Bank Area Manager for the Northern Cluster, said the bank has been in the country for over 100 years and has been supporting the growth of all sectors of the economy.

He said the 15 per cent interest on loans absorbed by the ATT made the loans less risky for the company.

Alhaji Abdulai Seidu Antiku, Managing Director of Antika Company Limited, thanked ATT Project for the confidence reposed on his company, saying such confidence over the years has led to useful collaborations in the area of seed production and the establishment of demonstration farms for farmer education.

Others are acquisition of four compartments of seed processing equipment such as blower, grader, treatment plant and calibrator; seed laboratory instruments; fertilizer briquetting machine and seed distribution van.

Alhaji Antiku pledged the company’s commitment to deliver and serve as a model that would attract more investment to the agriculture sector.

Agriculture must be seen as a business venture and not just hand-to-mouth activity. I urge all particularly the youth to take up agriculture seriously as there are many opportunities in agriculture than any other field, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency