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24.03.2009 Business & Finance

Agricultural Development Bank opens 52nd branch


The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday officially opened

its 52nd branch at the Spintex Road in Accra, calling

on government to make available to the bank the
statutory sources of funding of the bank's projects including the communication service tax.

The new branch has ultra modern banking premises

and is meant to help extend banking services closer

to customers.
Mr Yaw Opoku Atuahene, Managing Director of the

Bank, said ADB was keen on opening more branches in

both predominantly agricultural districts and
peri-urban business centres in a bid to maintain the bank's lead role in agricultural financing in consonance with its objectives.

He said the bank initiated specific agricultural credit projects including the Young Farmers Programme, the Cocoa Hi-tech scheme, small holder mango project, special maize programme and broiler out-grower project as well as the sorghum value chain programme which involved the cultivation of 700 hectares of sorghum by farmers in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti region for supply to Guinness Ghana Breweries last year.

In addition, the bank provided financial support for the production of a fruit processing plant by the Volta Integrated Agricultural Development Limited at Tafi Abuife which is capable of processing both pineapple and mango.

The MD said the bank also partnered the government in the establishment of the National Youth Employment Programme, explaining that: “The bank's role in this programme is the pre-financing of allowances of those employed under the programme. Through this partnership about 108, 000 youth continue to be engaged in some form of employment.”

Mr Opoku Atuahene said this year the bank intended to repackage and enhance specific agricultural products and give continued support for the food processing industry.

“The bank will deepen its support for commercial maize cultivation in the Afram plains as well as revive Ejura farms. We will support entrepreneurs in the agribusiness sector with the provision of funds for leasing of trucks and tractors.”

He said the Spintex road branch is networked with the rest of the branches and promised excellent banking services to customers.

Mr Dominic Donkor, an official of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, who read a statement on behalf of the sector Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor, said government acknowledges the dominance of the agricultural sector in the economy and the fact that agriculture is the principal sector for the development and growth of the country's economy.

“Government has made modernization of agricultural credit delivery one of the main high points in achieving a middle income status.”

He expressed government's concern about the constant high loan default rate experience by ADB and said they recognized the need to create a favourable policy environment to deal with the management of risks associated with financing the agricultural sector.

Dr Duffuor called on other banking institutions to supplement the amount of credit which ADB is able to provide in order to spread the risk of agricultural finance to more institutions.

“I wish to use this opportunity to implore the banking community as a whole to realize the importance of agricultural finance in the scheme of things,” he said