The European Union (EU), has supported the agricultural sector of Ghana with a whooping sum of €2.5 million. This initiative was part of the grand EU support in the agriculture sector under the EU Ghana Agricultural Program (EU-GAP).
The Head of Infrastructure and Sustainable Development of the EU Delegation to Ghana, Mrs Paulina Rozycka, launched the initiative in Wa during a brief ceremony to hand over motorbikes to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
According to Mrs Paulina Rozycka, funds injected into the agricultural sector would be managed by the Sinapi Aba Savings & Loans (SASL), a non-banking financial institution providing loans and savings products to individuals and Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with a focus on rural areas and women.
Mrs Rozycka, in her speech indicated there was an observation that, farmers and agricultural MSMEs were often excluded from the formal financing systems, and had to deal with informal lenders or aggregators resulting in the payment of higher interest rates.
“This line of credit will increase the number of smallholders (in the agricultural value chain) benefitting from loans and financial products by more than 25,000 borrowers. More farmers will now benefit from small loans to finance agricultural inputs or equipment with technical assistance.”Mrs Paulina Rozycka
Some farmers in the rural areas had complained of the high cost of farm inputs such as fertilizers and agrochemicals, which had affected their production abilities posing a risk of increased hunger and poverty to their families, She explained.
Sinapi Aba Savings & Loans (SASL) Ready To Provide Farmers With Financial Assistance
A smallholder farmer at Yeliyiri, Madam Seozuma Saanuuri, a community in the Wa West District, explained that women farmers in the outreach communities were finding it difficult to get access to funds in financing their farming activities.
“This year we were not able to buy fertilizer for the farm. Getting a tractor too was difficult for us, so we did not get anything from our farms to feed our children.” she said .
A farmer in the Biskan community, Mr Seidu Abdullai also expressed his views pertaining the pain they go through to get funding. He explained that they are faced with issues of high cost of farm inputs and tractor services, coupled with the lack of financial support to farmers was rendering the agricultural sector unattractive to the youth.
The Branch Manager for SASL in Wa, Mr Bob Zaato, said the €2.5 million EU credit facility would help increase the value of loan facilities granted to farmers.
“It has not been an easy task working with farmers; however, we are doing all that we can to serve them anytime they knock at our doors. Any business or activity within the agricultural value chain was qualified to request financial support from Sinapi Aba Savings & Loans (SASL).”Mr Bob Zaato.