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18.08.2013 Business & Finance

New fund in the offing for agricultural financing in Ghana

By Luv FM|Kofi Adu Domfeh
New fund in the offing for agricultural financing in Ghana
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The Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) has disclosed the setting up of an Agricultural Fund to be operational by end of this year.

Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Duku, told Luv Biz Report the facility is tailored to finance agriculture related projects, from production to supply-chain and value addition.

Sustainable financing of agriculture investments constitutes a critical factor in enhancing operations of Ghanaian farmers. Smallholder farmers and other actors in the sector are constrained throughout the production, marketing and distribution stages of their operations.

There have been calls for government to incorporate farmers' access to financial service into national policies.

Targeted financing, especially with the reformed Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) is a step to propel the growth of Ghana's agriculture and food processing industry.

But such interventions have yet to rake in the desired impact.

Dr. Robert Kwabena Asubuah, a Director at the Grains and Legumes Development Board of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said there are opportunities for the private sector in agricultural financing.

“Everybody always talks about government investing but right now the private sector has a big role to play to take up some of the agricultural investments that are now available for them to make all the money they want”, he stated.

He cited post harvest investment in agricultural products is a viable venture.

The VCTF has a mandate to provide low-cost long term financing to small and medium scale enterprises, including agriculture.

A Development Assistance Fund supports SMEs to the tune of Gh¢50,000 to improve their businesses.

CEO, Daniel Duku, said about 70 applications have been approved and supported.

He however said applications for financing have been skewed towards investors in the Greater Accra Region.

He expects investors in Ashanti region to take advantage of the VCTF's office set up in Kumasi to explore opportunities, especially under the proposed agricultural fund.

Ashanti regional chair of the Association of Ghana Industries, Robert Nketia, is cautiously optimistic of the Fund's renewed drive to support agriculture.

“Most of the already existing investments went to other sectors, neglecting the agricultural and agro-processing. But they've now realized their mistake and now focusing on agriculture which will have an impact in creating employment and making it possible that the rural areas are also opened up”, he opined.

But he believes progress can be made only when there is demonstration of commitment to the cause.

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