Fourteen farming groups have signed an agreement with the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) to access part of a $547,009 million grant that was signed between the governments of Ghana and the United States of America to promote economic growth and poverty reduction in Ghana through private sector led agribusiness.
They are: Farmpine Ghana Limited Farm, Gannat Farm, Gold Coast Exotic Produce Limited, Bomarts Farms Limited, Chartered Impex Limited, Georgefields Limited and Green Span. The rest are Integrated Tamale Fruit Company, Jei River Farms Limited, John Lawrence, Koranco Farms, Mashaco Farms, Phoenix Tropical Exports and Prudent Exports.
The agreement signed by MiDA with the 14 “Nucleus Farmers” (NF) is part of the Agriculture Credit Demonstration Programme, and it is to formalize the relationship between the beneficiary farmers and MiDA to enable the farmers acquire inputs for cultivation and to meet other needs in their businesses.
The signing of the agreement has been described as timely in view of the advent of the 2007 farming season.
Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, Chairman of MiDA said, “The re-disbursement of funds by MiDA under the scheme will be made through qualified Participating Financial Institutions. I want to make it absolutely clear that government has no role in this.
This is a task for the private sector and regulatory agencies.”
Dr. Nduom said even though each of them would receive an amount exceeding $4 million, the amount of money that would eventually be involved would finally be determined by MiDA, depending on the amount of money that needs to go to each of the individual farmers.
He reminded them that the money that they would receive, “is not free, it is not a grant to you, the money that is given to you, would come in a form of loan and you would be required to pay the monies back on the good conditions, so that others might also get the opportunity to utilize this fund”.
He noted that the signing event was, “just the beginning, we want to demonstrate that the procedures can be followed that, you can do whatever we have asked you to do…If we do not get this one going correctly, then we cannot hope to disburse the remainder of the agriculture credit money and the total amount of money is about $56 million. So what we are talking about is even less than 10% of the amount of money that should become available”.
He said this is also a signal to everybody that the Millennium Development Authority is open for business.
Having stated what is required of the farmers to fulfill as requirement of MiDA and the Compact, Dr. Nduom said MiDA on its part would inform the farmers when the Compact funds are reimbursed to the participating financial institutions under the scheme.
It would also provide the necessary support to the NF to enable it attain the purposes of the agreement and in particular to prove assistance in the form of training and capacity building in commercial agriculture to Schedule 1 Annex 1 of the Compact.