Minister Assures Government Will Promote Value Chain In Agriculture
The Government is committed to promoting value chain in agriculture, Dr Sagre Bambangi, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in-charge of Crops, has said.
Dr Bambangi said agriculture played a key role towards Ghana's socioeconomic advancement, stressing that Ghana's agriculture had a very huge potential; and that the Government was committed to promoting the sector, as part of efforts to ensure food security and job creation for the youth.
The Deputy Minister made the remarks on Thursday at the formally opening of the 2018 edition of the Value Added Agriculture Expo West Africa in Accra.
Dr Bambangi said the technical know-how and financial resources were pivotal for the utilisation of fertile lands for agricultural purposes.
The three-day, exhibition, which is West Africa's largest exhibition promoting 'farm to fork' solutions in value added agriculture and aquaculture, is being organised by Reed Exhibitions in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
It is under the auspices of Barclays Ghana, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mel Consulting Limited; Interplast, Ecommodity Express, AFRGRI Ghana Limited and IrriGate.
The event brings together agricultural companies within the equipment and technology supporting and manufacturing industry, to increase the production of the final product, such as processing equipment, machinery and technology, finance and logistics, meat and meat related production, dairy-related products, animal feed production and confectionery products.
Madam Carol Weaving, Managing Director, Reed Exhibitions Africa, said her organisation had grown its food prints across a successful and diverse range of business sectors and was now the owner of established titles within a cross-section of economic sectors delivering exhibitions and trade fairs.
She said the Value Added Agriculture Expo West Africa, would go a long way to influence the growth of Ghana and West Africa agriculture sector.
Madam Weaving said the event brings together farmers, agro processors and services sectors supporting these industries, with the key objectives to impart knowledge and drive business opportunities by introducing the latest technology and innovations.
Mr Andrew Ahiaku, Head of Agribusiness, Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited, said Barclays was committed and passionate towards the agricultural sector.
He said agriculture contributed about 20 per cent of Ghana's gross domestic products (GDP); stating that 'and for us as a bank, this quantum is too important to ignore, that is why we are one of the few banks that have a dedicated desk towards agriculture finance, not only agri-finance but agribusinesss finance, because we see agriculture as a value chain approach in dealing with most of the issues.
'There is no point supporting a primary producer if the products cannot reach the market. And so our financing of the sector spans from the farm to fork. And that is why we are excited to be part of the Reed Family'.
He said since 2014 the Bank, had advanced $65million to their clients in the maize, rice and soya value chain alone, not to talk about cocoa and other subsectors.
'We are willing to do more, but to do more we need government to support us,' he stated.
He said that government through the African Development Bank has initiated the Ghana Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) Programme, which was risk mitigating tool that supported and encouraged banks to lend more to the sector.
He urged Government to implement the GIRSAL Programme quickly so that banks like Barclays could support more farmers.
Mr Ahiaku also appealed to the Government to expand the Exim Bank so they do more than the four million Ghana Cedis that they were doing now; which would allow banks to have deeper appetite towards primary agriculture.
Mr Bram Wits, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Agricultural Counsellor West Africa, said Ghana was pushing forward its agenda to advance the agriculture sector through the implementation of the One Village, One Dam (1V1D) and the One District, One Factory (1D,1F) flagship projects.
He said The Kingdom of the Netherlands was very keen in sharing its technological know-how with Ghana for the advancement of the agricultural sector.