ARB APEX bank to give US$ 8m to rural farmers

ARB Apex bank will soon start disbursing low interest loans, up to the tune of US$8million under the Rural Finance Wholesale Fund to rural commercial farmers in the country.

The revolving and medium-term loan facility will be made available to Rural Commercial Banks (RCB) for on-lending to specific commercial farmers as well as micro, medium and small enterprises.

The fund, which is a compact agreement between the Danish and Ghanaian governments, will help improve agric in the country by aiding farmers to invest in the needed technology and equipment.

This was made known to B&FT by Mr. Paul Tetteh Bah-Lano, Branch Head of Tamale ARB Apex Bank at the sidelines of the Annual North Ghana Pre-Season Agri-Business Forum held at Nyankpala in the Tolon-Kumbugu District of the Northern Region.

The two-day event, which was convened by the Ghana Agri-Input Dealers Association (GAIDA) in collaboration with IFDC, Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) and USAID-funded Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) project brought together players in the agricultural sector to plan for the 2012 planting season.

Technical Leader for Outreach with ADVANCE, Mr. Collins Kyei Boafo, said “The annual event is a platform for private sector businesses to advertise and market their equipment and services to farmers.”

He added that it creates a forum for input and equipment vendors and importers, financial institutions and ICT service providers to interact and network, and also offers an opportunity for these actors to access products and services for a successful planting season.

For his part, Acting Administrator of Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Reverend Gilbert Yaw Nachim, underscored the role agric plays in Ghana but lamented the weak linkages which exist between different sectors in the sector.

Reverend Nachim revealed that in Ghana about 50% of the working-class is employed in the agric sector; activities within the agric sector generate about 35% of Ghana’s foreign exchange earnings; it is said that the agric sector also contributed 30% of Ghana’s GDP in 2010.

“With this, we cannot feed ourselves as a country; I think there is something wrong that needs to be corrected,” he said.
He hoped the forum will help address this challenge, whereby actors in the sector should not feel independent in themselves but see other actors as partners in development.

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