Management of AB Farms Ventures has signed a Cooperation Agreement for financial support with Rabobank Foundation and HortiFresh under the third Exporter-Out Grower Financial Product in Accra.
Supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, the Exporter-Out Grower Financial Product aims to improve the access-to-finance for smallholder farmers and export companies in the fruit and vegetable sector in a sustainable manner.
The grant will enable AB Farms to employ qualified staff, promote quality inputs, and organise field days and training on new technology and practices.
The signing ceremony was tied to a visit of an 11-member trade mission from the Netherlands to Ghana to explore business opportunities in the horticultural sector.
The trade mission, led by the Netherlands African Business Council, an organisation with access to over 20,000 African and European businesses interested in doing business in Africa, focused on input supply and agronomic advice.
Ms Katja Lasseur, the Deputy Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, said the trade mission was a demonstration of the Netherlands Government’s focus on promoting agriculture through private sector participation and investments.
“The mission clearly echoes the motto of ‘Holland and Ghana growing together’ and I hope the trade delegates find suitable business partnerships in Ghana,” she added.
Mr Papa Bartels, the Director of Value Chain and Logistics of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said: “The trade mission exemplifies the country’s development agenda of Ghana beyond Aid”.
He said this could only be achieved through an enabling business environment and trade promotion between countries and business linkages.
He called on the horticulture companies present to make the most out of the opportunity so as to further enhance trade and investment between the Netherlands and Ghana.
Government had put in place policies and programmes that would enable doing business in the country smooth and easy, Mr Bartels said.
He said an application had been developed to enable businesses to file their tax returns in no time with others to facilitate business operating permits, which would be issued online going forward.
Ms Sheila Assibey-Yeboah, the HortiFresh Project Manager, said the mission coincided with the second HortiFresh Business Platform Meeting, which brought together key horticulture actors in the fruit and vegetable sector to focus on emerging challenges and outline solutions to make the sector more competitive.
She said with regard to the loan, Hortifresh would provide technical assistance for out-grower training with co-financing of the agronomists and the Ghana Green Label certification.
She said HortiFresh would develop four financial products in the coming years to improve access-to-finance for smallholder farmers and export companies in the fruit and vegetable sector.
Mr Benjamin Agbeshie, the Chief Executive Officer of AB Farm Ventures, told the Ghana News Agency that the support would help the company expand its operations and enable it to employ more hands to improve output.
He said it would also enable them to engage more agronomists to help farmers in their day to day activities to increase their yields.
He expressed gratitude to the Management of HortiFresh Programme for the confidence reposed in the company to continue to contribute to the sector.
Among these are Simonis Fertilizers B.V who are specialized in the production of mineral organic and organo-mineral fertilizers.
The delegation include Mantis ULV and Agrocares, Bakker Brother, Jiffy and OLMIX, Delphy, Solidaridad and HAS University of Applied Sciences.