Ghana is to benefit from a 100 million dollar agricultural financing scheme being supported by the Standard Bank Group and other partners as part of efforts to modernise the agricultural sector in the country.
Jacko Maree, Chief Executive of the group, the largest bank in Africa, who informed President John Evans Atta Mills during a courtesy call at the Castle, Osu, yesterday, said the facility was part of the bank's programme to support the revamping of the agricultural industries in Africa.
A Memorandum of Understanding for Ghanaian farmers and agro-processing enterprises to benefit from the financing scheme would be signed today.
The facility, which is a collaborative programme among the bank, the Kofi Annan Alliance for Green Evolution in Africa, the Millennium Challenge Account and the Rocky Fella Foundation, is a four-nation facility including Tanzania , Uganda and Mozambique
. Mr. Maree did not indicate the criteria for the selection of the four beneficiary countries but said “we want to help the government to support the growth of the agricultural sector.”
In addition, he explained that the bank would be investing in the petro-chemical industry and the agro-processing industry.
“We are proud to be associated with Ghana ,” he said, and commended the country for peaceful election and political transition which has increased the confidence in the country's economy.
President Mills, in his remarks, lauded the financial intervention of the bank and its partners, describing it as timely for Ghana .
He reiterated government's determination to modernise the agriculture sector to increase food production, saying that although the economy was largely dependent on the sector, it has been under-developed.
The President was optimistic that the support would significantly complement government's efforts at achieving food sufficiency and exports, as well as decreasing the level of food imports.
He commended the bank for the initiative and urged other financial institutions to emulate the intervention to provide viable solutions to financial challenges confronting farmers.
Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, who accompanied the delegation, said the assistance of the banks fall in line with the government's agenda of modernising agriculture which was critical for economic growth.
Also at the Castle to see the President was a delegation from Tianshi Health and Business Consultancy, producers of herbal supplements, who briefed the President about the operations of the company.
John Gasper Annan, Country Director of the Company, with its headquarters in China , called for government's assistance to enable the company establish a local production factory and a supermarket in Ghana.