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Business News of Thursday, 7 May 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Ecobank scales up agric credit

Ecobank Ghana has stepped up its support in the agricultural sector with a credit facility of GH¢152 million in 2014 to help the sector unlock its potential.

The bank has extended more than GH¢22 million in the last four months to smallholder farmers who are into the cultivation of soya, maize and rice and other in the value chain.

Speaking at the second Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit in Accra, the Executive Director of Domestic Bank of Ecobank Ghana, Mr George Mensah-Asante, called for increased support to small scale agriculture farmers to enable them contribute to the economic development of the nation.

That, he said, was necessary because the small scale agricultural sector had remained the bedrock of most developing economies of the world.

“Through our facilities, farmers have had increased access to modern technology, improved seeds and fertilizers,” he said.

The sector’s contribution to total productivity in the economy stands at about 22 per cent, having ceded its lead role to the services sector which now contributes about 53 per cent.

Hitherto, individual farmers would reach out to a financial institution for credit to finance their farming activities. Since the sector is mainly rain-fed in the country, a bad weather would mean poor harvest which often rendered the loans bad.

Although the bank has been doing some level of agric financing, it has since 2007 been scaling up the portfolio with the assistance of some development financial institutions interested in green growth and climate change.

They include the United States Agency for International Development-Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID-FinGap), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).