USAID Project supports seed sector
Tamale, Dec. 30, GNA - The Feed the Future--Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer Project (ATT) is partnering reputable financial institutions in northern Ghana with a loan programme of $ 9 million to stimulate improved seed production, processing, and marketing.
The purpose of the programme is to fuel the nascent private sector seed business that serves farmers in Upper East, Upper West, and Northern Regions, encourage adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture practices and equipment that mitigate the harmful effects of climate change while adapting to changes.
The project is also targeted at increasing the volume and quality of improved certified maize, rice and soy seed growth and reduced seed retail prices at the end-user levels through the value-chain players.
Speaking at a summit for players in the seed sector and agribusiness industry in Tamale in the Northern Region, the Chief of Party for ATT, Dr Gary Mullins, said the programme was aimed at motivating both entrepreneurs and financial institutions to invest more in agribusiness, specifically the seed sector in the northern Ghana.
He said loans were targeted at seed producers, seed cleaners and processors, seed marketing, and seed companies as well as organisations, institutes and individuals interested in implementing Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies.
According to him, for every loan made by the financial institutions to finance any of the seed sector players in the three regions, ATT would bear 15 per cent of the loan interest payable on each qualifying loan disbursed, up to a total of $ 900,000.
Dr Mullins, said the assistance would be paid upon submission of performance-based invoices and other deliverables to ATT.
He said the seed sector was a critical area that must be looked at if the country was to increase its agricultural productivity.
The summit, which was put together by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with ATT Project, and Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID-FinGAP) Seed Loan Support Programme brought together stakeholders in the agribusiness sector.
Dr Victor Antwi, Deputy Chief of Party for USAID-Fin-GAP explained that the ATT Project was contributing 15 per cent of the loan interest payable on each qualifying loan disbursed.
"This assistance, which will go directly to the Financial Institutions, will be paid upon submission of performance-based invoices and other deliverables to ATT.
'The programme aims to motivate both entrepreneurs and Financial Institutions to invest more in agribusiness, specifically the Seed Sector of northern Ghana. Thus, for every loan made by the Financial Institutions to finance any of these agribusiness opportunities, the value of the interest to be charged will be reduced by value of the grant from ATT," he added.
He mentioned that the participating financial institutions include; Barclays Bank, EcoBank Ghana Ltd, Bonzali Rural Bank, Builsa Community Bank, First Allied Savings and Loans,Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans and Tumu Cooperative Credit Union.
In a presentation, the Chief Executive Officer of A&G Agro-Mechanical Industries, Mr Thomas Abanga, said the agricultural sector held volumes of potentials if farmers would adopt new technologies in their farming practices.
He said, for instance, that the A&G Agro-Mechanical Industries was established to bring agricultural mechanisation to the country, particularly in the three regions to increase agricultural productivity and alleviate poverty.
He said A&G had assisted more than 13,000 farmers this year in the Northern Region and part of northern Volta with tractor services.
Mr Abanga said his company would procure 50 tractors in 2017 to support farming activities in northern Ghana.