Ghana’s agricultural landscape stands at a critical juncture, with only 15.0% of farms in the country being classified as commercial, according to a recent report titled “Creating Agriculture Financing Schemes for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.”
Additionally, the report sheds light on the alarming statistic that a mere 4.0% of total bank lending in Ghana has been directed towards agriculture over the past five years.
The challenges outlined in the report underscore the complexities hindering the growth and sustainability of the agriculture sector in Ghana. Factors such as low mechanization, poor farm recordkeeping, inadequate storage and processing capacities, deficient rural transportation infrastructure, and post-harvest losses collectively contribute to the sector’s underperformance. The thin portfolios of agriculture across various financier groups further highlight the disincentives for investment in this crucial sector.
The report emphasizes that agriculture in Ghana primarily relies on rain-fed practices and operates on a subsistence basis, reinforcing the need for a shift towards commercialization. The stark reality of only 15% of farms being commercialized signifies a missed opportunity for economic growth and food security. The identified challenges not only impede the sector’s performance but also act as barriers to securing essential financial support.
In light of these findings, the report advocates for increased interventions from funds and financial institutions, particularly emphasizing the roles of the Agriculture Development Bank and Ghana EXIM Bank.
These institutions play a pivotal role in the agriculture value chain and are strategically positioned to address the existing funding gaps. By aligning their core mandates with the urgent needs of the agriculture sector, these financial entities can catalyze positive change and drive sustainable growth.
Ghana’s Agriculture Economy
Ghana’s agriculture economy, valued at approximately $12.6 billion, has been a significant contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), averaging around 20% over the last five years. Cash crops and other commodity exports derived from agriculture account for a substantial 20-25% of the nation’s total export revenues. Furthermore, the sector plays a vital role in employment, providing jobs for over 35% of the total labor force.
To unleash the full potential of Ghana’s agriculture sector, a multi-faceted approach is imperative. Enhancing mechanization, promoting effective farm recordkeeping, investing in storage and processing capacities, improving rural transportation infrastructure, and minimizing post-harvest losses are key steps toward transforming the sector.
Simultaneously, financial institutions must actively collaborate with stakeholders to bridge the funding gaps and create innovative financing schemes that align with the unique needs of the agriculture value chain.
The report serves as a call to action for both public and private entities to prioritize and invest in Ghana’s agriculture sector. By addressing the identified challenges and committing to sustainable agricultural practices, Ghana can not only unlock economic growth but also ensure food security for its population. The collaborative efforts of financial institutions, government agencies, and the agricultural community are essential for realizing the untapped potential within the sector and driving positive change for the nation’s future.