Dr John Kofi Mensah, the Managing Director (MD) of the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) has urged government to make the bank the receiver of all bulk concessional funding in the country.
He said this would enable the bank to increase its support for farmers and fishers nationwide to develop the agriculture sector.
His call comes on the back of Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Food and Agriculture Minister’s appeal to the management of ADB to increase the bank’s support to the agriculture sector to boost production.
Dr Mensah, speaking at a short ceremony to present the bank’s cash prize of GH¢600,000 to the 2021 National Best Farmer, Mr Mashud Muhammed, in Accra, said government must make ADB the receiver of bulk concessional funding to enable it to continue to meet its obligation and expand support to other farmers in the sector.
“We at this moment are also saying that ADB should be the bank to receive bulk concessional funding so that we can rechannel it to our honourable farmers and fishers,” he urged.
The MD said the bank remained committed in ensuring that the agriculture sector continued to play its critical role in the national economy.
He said since the launch of the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, it had supported with GH¢100million for the purchase of fertilizers and certified seeds.
He said last year, the bank approved a total working capital of GH¢160million to the National Food Buffer Stock Company Limited (NAFCO), to buy off excess produce from farmers under the PFJ to support the school feeding programme.
He added that, within the last four years the bank has approved a total working capital of GH¢300 million to the NAFCO to purchase mainly grains under the PFJ.
Dr Mensah assured the bank would collaborate with the MoFA and other stakeholders to address challenges facing the poultry industry in the country.
“We remain committed in ensuring that agriculture sector continues to play its critical role in the national economy,” the MD assured.
Dr Mensah disclosed that, the bank through its corporate social responsibility budget would embark on youth entrepreneurship support programme this year, to equip the young ones with the requisite skills which would enable them to venture into the agricultural sector.
Dr Akoto, the Food and Agriculture Minister, said he was saddened by the little interest shown by some banks in agriculture despite its prospects.
He said despite the numerous benefits the PFJ for instance, had presented banks, especially commercial banks had failed to take advantage of it and invest in the sector, saying: “It saddens me because there should be a partnership between the commercial banks and government.”
The Minister assured that the country would record good crop yield this year regardless of the numerous global challenges, especially with fertilizer shortage.
“We are very confident. In spite of all what is happening to fertilizer shortages, rocketing fertilizer prices and fuel prices which is affecting prices, we are confident that we will record good yield,” he said.