Financing Agriculture is essential and cannot be overemphasised. This aspect of the value chain needs continuous evaluation to ensure banks and other stakeholders in charge of financing are working together to support value chain actors with the needed financial services.
In Ghana, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) is the leading financial institution in Ghana with an agric focus that continues to empower farmers and agribusinesses financially. In 1964, the Bank of Ghana set up a Rural Credit Department to manage legislation, plans and procedures for a specialised bank for the agricultural sector.
ADB was established in 1965 as the Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Bank. The bank was restructured in 2009 and positioned as a full-service financial institution with an agricultural focus; offering banking products and services to the retail, corporate, commercial, executive and parastatal sectors.
ADB is responsible for providing up to 85% of institutional credit to the agricultural market. The bank also offers services in risk and Treasury management. ADB has a national footprint with 78 branches located in the major towns and cities of Ghana, as well as automatic and mobile banking facilities.
ADB sponsors 11th Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference
This year, the bank was among notable corporate organisations that sponsored the 11th Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions organised by Agrihouse Foundation, in the Northern Region capital, Tamale.
In a goodwill message read on his behalf at the opening ceremony of the 3-day market linkage event, the Managing Director, Dr. John Kofi Mensah, noted ADB was proud to be associated with the 3-day market linkage event that “brings together all major partners within the Agricultural Value Chain” to foster networking and opportunities aimed at positioning the agricultural sector as a major contributor to our economy.
Annually, the market linkage event hosts companies that are into fertiliser, seeds, Irrigation, machinery and equipment, Finance, Transportation, ICT, Processors, Packagers, Marketers, Government Institutions, Development Partners, among others.
The platform serves as a highly engaging training and capacity building and exhibitions time for all actors within the agric value chain, helping them add to their knowledge and skills through practical sessions – including field demonstrations, commodity breakout sessions, farmer-buyer matchmaking dialogues, gender workshops, development corporate conversations, showcasing successful agribusiness modules and exhibitions.
Stakeholders and participants are able to network with companies and among themselves within this period, which serves as an opportunity for them to strike new deals, build their customer and client database and, importantly, negotiate new contracts toward the harvest season.
“The novel Coronavirus revealed to us the need to identify workable ways of improving agricultural productivity with improved propagating materials, and to use novel technologies and innovations in order to reduce reliance on imported food and achieve food security,” he said.
According to him, since 2017 a new board has been in place with the mandate of refocusing the bank’s core agenda back to agricultural financing. In effect, the bank in 2020, launched the Broiler Value Chain Programme with an estimated amount of five hundred million Ghana cedis. “ADB seeks to revitalise the broiler subsector and put an end to the huge foreign exchange spent on yearly basis to improve productivity in the country,” he stressed.
Dr. Mensah noted ADB will continue to increase its lending to the agricultural sector with an aim of meeting the strategic objective of increasing the share of agricultural loans to at least fifty percent of the total loan portfolio.
“We will also continue striving to source cheap sources of funds to make it possible to give our Farmers and Fishers loans at reduced interest rates,” he added.
11th Pre-Harvest Exhibitions and Conference Activities
The 3-day leading market linkage event opened on Tuesday, October 19th and ran until Thursday, October 21. The edition was on theme ‘Working Together to Improve Market Channels for Agri-foods Beyond the Pandemic’, and took place at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale, the Northern Region capital.
The leading agribusiness market linkage conference and exhibitions event featured major training and capacity sessions: such as commodity breakout sessions, farmer-buyer matchmaking dialogues, showcasing successful agribusiness modules, exhibitions, agri-youth forum, gender workshop, development partner panel conversation, and practical field demonstrations exercises.
The event further highlighted and addressed challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified within the sector and the effects it has had on marketing Agri-foods, while exploring existing market channels to address these challenges.
A key highlight of the 3-day event was the Field demonstrations, whereby farmers and actors got to practically learn, appreciate and adopt best practices in Farm Management. This took place at the Agrihouse Foundation AGRI-VILLAGE, a ten (10) acre land donated by the Bamvim Lana (Chief of Bamvim).
In the short- to long-term, the Agrihouse Foundation Agri-village is expected to house different type of farms (including Seeds and Livestock Farms), Demonstration Centres, Conference/Workshop halls, Restrooms, Exhibition stores for Agric Companies, Training and Recreational Centres, Storage space, Processing Centres, Production room, Laboratories and Research Centres.
Impacts of Pre-Harvest over the Years
Pre-Harvest has created and continues to connect through exhibitions and training sessions companies that are into fertiliser, seeds, Irrigation, machinery and equipment, Finance, Transportation, ICT, Processors, Packagers, Marketers, Government Institutions, Development Partners, among others. Over 90% of companies and participants have been linked to markets through the Exhibitions.
Pre-Harvest has become a leading event on the Ghanaian agricultural calendar and has served as a stimulating platform for training, and for creating increased stakeholder linkages, exhibitions and expanded opportunities. It operates from a facilitative dimension by presenting a highly engaging and coordinated platform that ensures smallholder farmers are connected to markets, finance, inputs, equipment and information.
These activities are geared toward capturing marketing challenges faced by the actors, especially in the pandemic; and how other modernised marketing platforms can serve as a solution to maximise the output of actors along the value chain. Farmers, actors along the value chain and participants are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to observe Good Agricultural Practices.
This year’s 3-day event (2021 11th edition) recorded 118 Exhibitors including farmers, traders, commodity brokers, input companies, machinery and equipment providers, transporters, financial institutions, ICT, Innovations, Poultry and Livestock companies, packaging and processing companies, development practitioners and government agencies, among others. It made room for 3,200 Participants; 32 FBOs from different regions and districts who represented over 300,000 farmers of rice, maize, soya-bean, sorghum, millet, groundnut, vegetables, yam and tubers, etc. 46 buyers negotiated and signed deals with farmers.
In 2020 (the 10th edition), the event recorded a total of 3,122 participants and 122 exhibitors including farmers, traders, commodity brokers, input companies, machinery and equipment providers, transporters, financial institutions, ICT, Innovations, Poultry and Livestock companies, packaging and processing companies, development practitioners and government agencies, among others.
A report on the 2019 event showed that about 70 business deals were made during the Exhibition. More than GH¢232,420,745 of agri products and equipment were sold and bought.
The event has improved the livelihoods of players along the value chain by boosting their confidence – i.e., created a stimulus platform for collaborating with other actors on business deals/increased stakeholders linkages.
It has given agro-processors a strong drive to access their raw materials locally; promoted agribusiness development; grown the local economy through expansion of agribusiness opportunities; and has become a platform of growth for agribusiness entrepreneurs. The event will remain one of the leading events in the country, where farmers, businesses, government and ideas meet to network, build capacity, learn and explore business opportunities, sign deals and close contracts.
In 2018, the event won the Agribusiness Event of the Year for helping to promote business partnerships among value chain actors – especially farmers, buyers, processors, transporters, input dealers, equipment dealers, financial institutions, telecom companies and policymakers. Over the years, through continuous improvement, it has accelerated the transformation of agribusiness in Northern Ghana, alongside government’s initiatives.