The Torchbearer Agricultural Science and Technology (TIAST) Group and Stanbic Bank have signed a memorandum of understanding to help boost cassava processing in the country. The move will see the two fund equipment, technology and provide off-takers for processed cassava to help farmers get more value from the crop.
The partnership will see farmers interested in cassava processing get loans from Stanbic bank to acquire process machines for their operations. TIAST which is the equipment provider and is also into the cassava processing business would offer the farmers after-sales service for the equipment, a full set of spare parts, training and on-site technical services.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Bank, Alhassan Andani, the move is a demonstration of the bank’s commitment in the Agriculture sector, it would therefore provide 85 percent financial support and the 15 percent would be borne by TIAST. He believes this will ensure that proper equipment is made available to build the local cassava industry.
Speaking after signing the MoU, Chief Business Officer at TIAST Group, Lisa Hao said that the support “is different from general commercial loans, it is a complete investment closed-loop financial support service.”
She stated that there is a high demand for cassava starch on the Chinese market of about 3 million tons yearly; fortunately, Ghana is one of the few countries in the world that has suitable soil for the production of cassava for starch purposes, therefore, more effort is needed to support players in the sector.
Madam Hao added that there are thousands of uses of cassava starch citing food, medicine, paper making, textile, cosmetics, building materials among others.
Addressing the gathering on behalf of the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Richard Twumasi-Ankrah said the ministry is in support of the initiative as it is an add on to the government’s Ghana Beyond Aid agenda which sets out to make the country self-reliant. He is hopeful the partnership will create jobs and prevent post-harvest losses.
The representative of the Ministry of Trade and industry, Patrick Nimo also maintained that the move is in line with the One-District-One-Factory Programme and will empower farmers thereby boosting the Agriculture sector.
The Torchbearer Agricultural Science and Technology (TIAST) Group, originated from China, headed by Lisa Hao and is into the production of Agricultural Processing Machines and its design, Financial Leasing for Agricultural Processing Equipment, Training and Development of talents in Agricultural Industrialization Sector and Agricultural Products Off-Take services.