Agro-processing businesses such as fishing, farming among others within the country have been encouraged to improve upon their products and services to be competitive in the global market.

Also, you have to come together as a group to ensure a fair market price that will promote and expand your business, Mr. Charles Wordey, Marketing Manager of the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) has said.

He said this at a national road show organized by Export Investment Fund (EDIF), an implementation agency of the Ministry of Trade, to sensitise farmers that there is a state facility they have to access in order to improve their businesses.

He explained that the fund was established in 2000 to provide financial resources for the development and promotion of export trade of Ghana — in 2011 financial resources for the development and promotion of agriculture relating to agro-processing and agro-development was added.

?To access the credit facility, you must have a registered company that is at least 51% owned by a Ghanaian and must have an account with one of EDAIF?s financial institutions, as well as have a business plan and fulfil the conditions attached to it,? he said.

According to him, the requirements attached to the fund include business-plan, audited financial statements, company registration documents among others — interest rate applied is 12.5% per annum.

Mr. Wordey pointed out that the loans are for a short period, not exceeding one year; medium-term loans are from one to five years, and as well long-term loans for five years can be accessed in almost all banks within the country — the maximum is US$3million.

He said a moratorium can be given depending on individual needs and cash flow, and collateral can be negotiated with the banks.

He stated that EDAIF provides grants for development and promotion of the country?s non-traditional exports to exporters.

?EDAIFs mandate is to finance non-traditional exporters like gari-processing and does not include traditional export such as cocoa, timber gold among others — however, if these products are processed, then they qualify,? he added.

He said while there is no minimum amount, the maximum is US$1,000 — and the activities that qualify for the grant facility are research and products development, and capacity and minor infrastructure development.

By Juliet AGUIAR, Takoradi

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