The Ministry for Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has charged commercial banks in the country to contribute meaningfully to agriculture by making available credit facilities to farmers.
According to the sector Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, it was worrying that commercial banks were reluctant in supporting farmers.
“Ideally the banks are supposed to provide you (the farmers) with credit facilities to enable you expand production. But that has not been the case.”
“…To the extent that the President even held a meeting involving the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, myself and all the Managing Directors of the banks in the country at the Jubilee House. At the said meeting, I spoke at length about the need for the banks to support government in the agricultural sector,” he said.
The minister who was passionate about the issue indicated that in India, for instance, over the last 30 years, it is mandatory for banks to allocate a certain amount of their lending monies to agriculture.
Dr. Akoto was addressing a durbar of poultry farmers at the Dormaa Municipal Assembly in the Bono Region on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, as part of his working tour in the region.
“Now what we need to do is to compel the banks to allocate their resources toward supporting agriculture in the country,” he strongly advocated.
He stressed that when that is not done, agriculture which is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy will continue to suffer.
He noted that his outfit was there to support farmers through various policies, adding that the “Ministry of Agriculture is not a banking institution”.
In the wake of a looming global food shortage, Dr. Akoto said Ghana was fortunate to have food in abundance.
However, he said the problem was rising food prices which he attributed to high transportation cost.
He, therefore, assured farmers that government was not relenting in its efforts to ameliorate their plights.
On the issue of a laboratory in the region, the minister assured that plans were far-advanced to build a laboratory stocked with medicines to take care of the poultry in the region.
Earlier, a durbar was held at the Bono Regional Coordinating Council where a presentation was done by the Bono Regional Director of Agriculture, Dennis Abugri Amenga.
He disclosed that there have been a boost in rice production this year, adding that government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) has contributed immensely toward this success story.
He stated that the fall armyworm has been dealt with this year and so did not affect much of the crops.
He noted that the outbreak of Bird flu and African Swine fever caused many deaths of animals, but stated that as of now the disease was under control by the intervention of veterinary doctors.