Editorial: USAID expanding finance to women-led agribusinesses is progressive

GIRSAL works by de-risking agricultural financing for financial institutions, by issuing agricultural credit guarantee instruments to enhance the total amount of credit to the agricultural and agribusiness sectors

USAID’s Ghana Mobilising Finance in Agriculture (MFA) is committing up to US$261million in loans to expand financing to agribusinesses – including women-led small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in the agricultural sector.

The money is to enable agricultural enterprises scale-up production in areas such as seed acquisition, fertiliser procurement and processing, among others.

Chief of Party for Feed the Future Ghana, Dr. Victor Antwi, revealed this at the 2023 Women in Agribusiness Summit in Accra; and noted that the amount will expectedly lead to US$500million in new sales by end of the funding year.

In September last year, MFA 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.

Empowering women in agribusiness is the key to unlocking their fullest potential, and the US government has unlocked over US$204million in financing for more than 33,000 agribusinesses – over half of which are women-led and women-owned in the maize, soy, groundnut, cowpea, cashew, mango and shea value chains.

When women earn incomes, they are able to address the needs of their households and improve the entire family’s livelihood to build resilient domestic economies.

Indeed, USAID’s Feed the Future (MFA) has provided critical support to female agriculture entrepreneurs in the country over the years; which is important since it overcomes their difficulty in accessing credit from financial institutions that lend very little to the agriculture sector.

Additionally, MFA has long been supporting the country’s agricultural financing system to mitigate negative impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on farmers and agribusinesses.

On April 26 this year, the US government hosted its first-ever ‘Women in Agribusiness’ summit. It brought together agribusinesses, transaction advisors, investors, financial institutions, US and Ghana government representatives, non-governmental organisations, trade associations, research institutions, civil society groups and the media.

Although women play a vital role in Ghana’s agricultural sector by providing critical value chain services in production, agro-processing and marketing, their access to business advisory services and commercial finance is limited.

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