Nine credit unions in eight districts along the eastern corridor of the Northern Region have been strengthened to enable them to support improved agricultural production through loans to farmers to ensure food security in the area.,
This followed the implementation of the Fostering Food Security through Cooperatives in Northern Ghana Project (FOSTERING), which offered support to the credit unions in terms of recapitalization through a loan pool, capacity building, coaching and mentoring and infrastructure development.
The beneficiary credit unions included Salaga, Tatali, Zabzugu, Boare, Banda, Bimbilla, Chereponi and Chamba Farmers Cooperative Credit Unions located at East Gonja, Nanumba North, Chereponi, Krachi Nchumuru and Nanumba North Districts amongst others.
Ms Lydia Daiki, Chief Administrator of the Credit Unions Association of Ghana (CUA), stated this at a ceremony at Salaga in the East Gonja Municipality of the Northern Region, marking the closure of the FOSTERING Project.
Ms Daiki said “the project had ensured a significant growth in the operations of the credit unions, making them operationally self-sufficient, the revival of highly distressed ones, and the increased products and services they offer.”
The FOSTERING Project was implemented within a five-year period with the aim to increase sustainable, gender equitable, food security for about 42,000 women and men in the beneficiary districts.
It was implemented by SEND-Ghana and CUA in partnership with the Canadian Development Foundation with funding from Global Affairs Canada.
After the five years of implementation, credit union membership among men and women smallholder farmers in the beneficiary districts has grown from 21,000 to 50,000 where farmers’ incomes are now 50 per cent more stable following diversification of their crops.
Ms Daiki said “CUA is therefore going to up its game and ensure the effective and efficient management of the loan funds with our credit unions to the best service of our communities and sustain the vision of FOSTERING Project.”
Mr Siapha Kamara, Chief Executive Officer of SEND-Ghana, assured that partners would continue to work to ensure efficient utilization of assets of the credit unions for the common good of all, urging farmers owing the credit unions to pay their loans to ensure sustainability.
Mr Majeed Mohammed, Development Officer at the Canadian High Commission, who represented the High Commission, called on project partners to continue to work to ensure that investments made were sustained for the benefit of all especially women.
Mr William Boakye-Acheampong, Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, entreated farmer-based organizations to register their operations with the district assemblies to receive support from the government.
Some of the beneficiaries lauded the partners for implementing the project in the area, saying it had helped to ensure food security in the area while increasing their incomes.