Agric sector needs regulation to attract investors- Analyst

Government must consider the setting up of an Agricultural Development Authority to regulate the production and marketing of agricultural products so as to attract the needed investment into the sector.

“We need an Agricultural Development Authority to regulate sector’s trade, and also the production and market aspects. We need to protect indigenous investments going into the sector, then when the sector is thriving, we can attract foreign investors into the sector.

We have seen the amount of investments that have come into the petroleum and telecommunications sectors after the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and the National Communication Authority (NCA) were established. If we have a sector that is not well regulated to protect people’s investments, it is going to be serve as disincentive,” Anthony Morrison, President of the Chamber of Agribusiness, has said.

Mr. Morrison was speaking as a panelist at a CanCham Breakfast event on the topic: “Investing in Agribusiness”.

Mr. Anthony Morrison (1st left) with other panelists at the event.

He noted though the country’s prospects for agribusiness is huge, investors, both local and international, need some form of assurance and protection to venture into the sector, which is seen as a high risk sector.

“The sector is a trade sector and ought to be given the utmost protection. If you do not protect an industry, we do not expect anyone to come and do any meaningful investments. We need a local protection system which will give the sector a boost and be able to encourage investors to come in,” he said.

The Annual Percentage Rates (APR) and Average Interest (AI) report for January 2018 released by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) have shown that the lending rate to the agriculture sector remains high.

The average lending rate to the sector, according to the report, stands at 30.4 percent.

Interestingly, Bank of Baroda, Barclays and Access Bank offers a much lower rate than ADB, which was set-up to support the agric sector.

Bank of Baroda offers a rate of between 22-28 percent; Barclays, 22.8-32.4 percent; and Access Bank offers a rate of 27 percent.

Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, Alhassan Andani, told the B&FT in an earlier interview that:  “From where we stand, we are very, very far away from where agribusiness can attract the most important resource that every sector needs, which is money.

We have to collaborate to create the enabling environment that enables farmers, agribusiness people to access the most important resource—money—in a very competitive manner. So, we have to have a national level organisation that makes agribusiness something that people will look up to.”

He added that: “We have to have, within the national economy, an agri-sector organisation that makes agribusiness very attractive; and we must have – at the farmer or business unit level – an organisation that makes the deployment of capital into these units profitable,” he added.

The CanCham Breakfast Meeting

The breakfast event was organised by the Canada-Ghana Chamber of Commerce to engage players in agribusiness about investment opportunities and other challenges in the sector.

It was also to provide valuable insights to existing and potential entrepreneurs and investors in the sector while also contributing to policy initiatives aimed at enhancing growth.

In his address, President of the Canada-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Anderson Blanc, reiterated the Canadian government’ commitment to support Ghana to achieve set goals in the agricultural sector.

“As a Chamber, we believe that agriculture is fundamental to our very human existence and that Ghana has most of the basic building blocks necessary for not only achieving food sufficiency but also in becoming a major exporter of agro-produce.

It is within this context that we applaud the Canadian government’s support to the Government of Ghana’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative to the tune C$ 125 million. We have no doubt this will significantly boost efforts at modernizing agriculture in Ghana,” he said.