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Business News of Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Source: Benjamin Paintsil

Opportunity International organises forum for smallholder farmers

Opportunity International Savings and Loans (OISL) has organized clients’ forum for over 400 smallholder farmers in Tamale, Kintampo, Techiman and Wenchi.

The forum which forms part of the company’s objectives to help impact agriculture in the country, was organised to access the impact of OISL’s services to smallholder farmers, educate them, and help find solutions to challenges facing their agric. businesses.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Isaac Gyesi, Head of Agric business at Opportunity International noted that OISL has realised how difficult it is for some farmers to visit branches for products and services and that has led to the introduction of the Cell phone banking solution (called Opportunity Mobile).

‘We know some of you are far from our physical branches but with Opportunity Mobile solution, you can still do basic banking transactions on your phone without coming to us physically”.

Mr. Gyesi said “OISL considers that robust economic growth cannot be achieved without putting in place well focused agriculture financing programmes. This will help to reduce poverty through agriculture to the economically active poor by increasing their access to credit”.

During the forum, the smallholder farmers appreciated OISL for all the support especially the GAP training and the financial literacy conducted for them in 2016 calendar year.

Mrs. Vivian Akofa Mottey, the Head of Transformation at Opportunity International, taught the farmers the importance of savings, their rights and responsibilities as clients and advised the farmers to ensure that they use their loans to expand their businesses and pay back the loan on time so that they can continue to enjoy the good services and support from Opportunity International Savings and Loans in the coming months.

The forum was also attended by some of the company’s partners in the value chain. Some Agric extension officers and input suppliers were present to answer some of the pertinent questions from the farmers as they shared their experiences. Most were very appreciative for the support they had received from Opportunity International over the years.

The forum was sponsored by the UK Aid which has provided financial assistance to Opportunity International Savings and Loans for organising Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training, financial education and Gender Awareness for their customers in the Brong Ahafo and three Northern regions.

OISL is among the few financial institutions that are supporting farmers with a special focus on women despite the high risk nature of the farming business in Ghana.