U.S deepens agric finance with US$261m to farmers, SMEs

Patronage of fertiliser for this year’s planting season is hitting a snag – an all-time low - as farmers are currently having difficulties procuring the commodity for crop production due to rising costs.

Feed the Future Ghana Mobilising Finance in Agriculture (MFA), a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported initiative, is committing up to US$261million in loans to agribusinesses in order to expand financing for farmers in Ghana.

The money, according to the USAID and Feed the Future Ghana, is to enable agricultural enterprises scale production in areas such as seed acquisition, fertiliser procurement, processing, among others.

As a medium-term funding for up to the year 2024, the MFA envisages assisting some 81,493 agricultural SMEs in cereal, grains and legumes – as well as the tree crops value chain – get access to the fund through selected transactional advisors.

Chief of Party for Feed the Future Ghana, Dr. Victor Antwi – who was speaking at the 2022 Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit in Accra, said the financing amount of US$261million is expected to lead to US$500million in new sales at end of the funding year.

He disclosed that the MFA has long been supporting the country’s agricultural financing system to mitigate negative impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on farmers and agribusinesses.

Indeed, as of September this year, the MFA has facilitated over US$152million to approximately 12,600 agribusinesses across the country – including 62 percent of female-led enterprises for the various priority crops mentioned above.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, said the US government and Feed the Future are working to address credit constraints in Ghana’s agriculture sector by using a value chain approach that leverages strategic partnerships.

“Apart from this scheme, the US government has also released US$2.77million under the COVID-19 Relief and Resilience Challenge Fund to support farmers and agricultural SMEs to mitigate impacts of the pandemic and future shocks,” she noted.

She said the US will continue to show positive interest in supporting agriculture in the short- and long-term, adding, “In September this year, an additional US$2.5million through the USAID was announced to ensure that 100,000 smallholder farmers in Ghana receive affordable fertiliser for this planting season”.

A speech by Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, he indicated that government has rolled out many sector-changing policies – including the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiative, which has increased production volumes in several staple value chains.

He said the provision of subsidised agricultural machinery to farmers and farmer-based organizations is designed to improve farmers’ access to mechanised services and reduce drudgery in the production value-chain.

The minister commended the United States government for helping to transform the country’s agricultural sector.

The 2022 Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit was organised by the USAID-funded Feed the Future Ghana, on the theme ‘Strategic Partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture Financing’.


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