Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Dr. John Kofi Mensah has reiterated the bank’s commitment to support agribusiness entrepreneurs to create wealth and grow the economy.
According to Dr. Mensah, ADB remains a leading lender to the agricultural sector in the country and is determined to focus more on the private sector within the agricultural value chain business. “We want to invest in a new generation of entrepreneurs whose interest will be in agribusiness to create wealth and economic growth,” he said.
The Managing Director said as part of the five-year strategic plan of the Bank, the Agribusiness Division has been tasked to grow the total loan portfolio by 50 percent by the year 2022.
Speaking during a familiarization tour for students of the Agricultural Student’s Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue (AG-STUD) boot camp programmer organized by Arthouse Foundation and sponsored by the Bank, Dr. Mensah said the bank will soon launch an innovative loan scheme to enable individuals come together and access loans for the entire agricultural value chain.
“From our research most people come for loans for one side of the agricultural value chain e.g. cultivation but we are soon going to launch a special loan scheme which will encourage individuals to come together to fully access loans for the entire agribusiness from production to processing, packaging, marketing etc.,” he said.
The MD said the introduction of this new concept will help minimize the risk of individuals defaulting in loan repayment as a result of post-harvest losses, packaging or marketing. He further advised the youth to take advantage of government agricultural flagship programmes like Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs and also Planting for Export and Rural Development to venture into agribusiness.
Dr. Mensah said institutions like the Ghana Commodity Exchange, Ghana Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) and also the National Buffer Stock Company have all been established to reduce the risk associated with agriculture.
“All these institutions are targeted at reducing the risk associated with agriculture and this will also enable Banks like us give lower interest rates to our customers,” he said.
Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Akorsa said the bootcamp in its third year is aimed at bringing agricultural students and startups together to learn from experts and professionals about agribusiness for a better future.
The participating institutions included, University of Ghana, University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kwadaso Agricultural College, University of Developmental Studies (UDS), University of Cape Coast (UCC) and Kwadaso Agric College, Fair River Farm Institute, Damango Agricultural College, Asuansi Farm Institute and Northern Agri-Youth Hub.