Nana Esi Idun-Arkhurst, Divisional Director, Retail and Business Banking at Fidelity Bank, says 10 per cent of the Bank’s loan portfolio is “actively dedicated” to the support of the agricultural sector.
She emphasised the strategic commitment of Fidelity Bank’s support to both agriculture, and the promotion of the overall growth of agribusiness.
The Bank, she said, was, therefore, collaborating with other stakeholders to provide comprehensive support to the sector.
Ms Idun-Arkurst was addressing the presidential breakfast meeting on agriculture and agribusiness financing in Ghana, organised by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The event was designed to highlight the opportunities and challenges within the sector and promote synergy among stakeholders to bolster support for the industry.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, top executives from various financial institutions, and key players across the agriculture value chain, attended the event.
Participating in a panel discussion under the theme: “Challenges and Opportunities in Agricultural Financing”, Ms Idun-Arkhurst highlighted the pivotal role of the banking sector in fostering the growth of the agribusiness landscape.
Her presentation emphasised “Fidelity’s unwavering dedication to steering the agricultural and agribusiness sectors”.
“It is imperative that we shift our attention not solely to agriculture, but also to the comprehensive enhancement of the agribusiness domain,” Ms Idun-Arkhurst stated.
Addressing the expansive opportunities in the sector, she highlighted the potentials in horticulture, with the necessity of collaboration with insurance companies to provide comprehensive coverage for various segments along the entire agricultural value chain.
“We envision a seamless integration of the entire agribusiness ecosystem, catering to the needs of every stakeholder, including off-takers and sellers,” she stated.
Ms Idun-Arkhurst spoke about Fidelity Bank’s collaborative efforts with pivotal stakeholders, citing partnerships with the Development Bank Ghana, the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL), and others to provide financing and technical support for agribusinesses.
She also urged the implementation of a comprehensive and accessible data on various facets of agriculture, including farm ownership and yields.
Ms Idun-Arkurst expressed concern about the challenges faced by financial institutions in accurately assessing the risk associated with agricultural financing.
“It is difficult to find data and information on the sector, and that makes it difficult to really understand the kind of risk a bank takes when it underwrites an agricultural facility,” she explained.
She noted that a lot more needed to be done to make it easier for the sector to grow.
She, however, declared: “As this vital sector continues its upward trajectory, Fidelity Bank stands resolute in its commitment to fostering collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders and authorities.
“This collaborative effort is instrumental in propelling the agricultural sector towards sustainable growth and prosperity, creating an enabling environment for the holistic development of Ghana’s agribusiness landscape.”