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Business News of Friday, 15 May 2015

Source: Daily Guide

Ghana needs holistic agric strategy – Edward Effah

Edward Effah, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fidelity Bank, has called for a comprehensive agricultural master plan to improve agribusiness in the country.

According to him, the lack of an agricultural master plan had hampered the continuous growth of the sector.

Mr. Effah, who made this known at the 2015 Agribusiness Investment Summit organized by the USAID in Accra, said “Ghana can learn a lot from Malaysia which has a consistent agriculture strategy and has been successful in exporting farm products for over 50 years.”

He added that Malaysia has built capacity in the agriculture sector and invested across the value chain of their crop production.

There are too many fragmented projects which do not bring the best out of the country’s agriculture sector, Mr. Effah indicated.

“We need a master plan to resolve these problems in the agriculture sector which currently contributes 22 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generates about 45 percent of our foreign exchange.”

Touching on the high interest rates in Ghana, Mr. Effah explained that banks do not generate interest rates, adding “if government issues Treasury bill rate at 25 percent, the banks cannot lend at any rate lower than that”.

He reiterated Fidelity Bank’s commitment to helping grow the agriculture sector and Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) through financing.

The Agribusiness Summit was held under the USAID-Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID-FinGAP).

USAID-FinGAP is a five-year project aimed at facilitating finance and investment in the soy, rice, and maize value chains in the northern part of Ghana and improving ancillary services.

The 2nd edition of the summit was on the theme, ‘Overcoming obstacles to unlocking agricultural investment in Ghana.’