Beneficiaries of government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme have received major boost in the marketing of their produce.
The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has advanced a facility of GHC50 million to the management of the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) towards the purchase of grains from farmers under the PFJ programme.
The amount is in fulfilment of the bank’s vision of improving the development of Ghana’s agricultural value chain and provide relief for farmers in the country.
The cheque was received on behalf of NAFCO by its Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Abdul Hannan Alodiba Wahab, together with other members of the board and staff of the company.
The National Food Buffer Stock Company is expected to commit the funds into the purchasing of maize, local rice, cowpea and peanuts for onward supply to schools for the Free Senior High School program.
It will also enable the company to mop up excess produce from farmers to reduce post-harvest losses which normally result from spoilage due to poor storage through government’s One District, One Warehouse Policy.
The 50 million facility represents over 120% percent increase in the 2018 support from the bank to NAFCO for the exercise, a development which according to the bank, was as a result of the sterling performance of the company during the 2018 crop season.
Speaking at the presentation of the cheque to management of NAFCO, the Managing Director of ADB, Dr. John Kofi Mensah, reiterated the bank’s continuous support to government’s agricultural initiatives and interventions.
He cited for instance that under the PFJ program, the bank had committed over GHC100 million cedis in the form of letters of credit and working capital loans to input suppliers under the program.
The MD further observed as a bank with developmental focus and a mandate to provide financial intermediation for the development and modernization of Ghana’s agricultural sector, “we are aware of our strategic role in providing financing to accelerate the growth of the agricultural and allied sectors”.
Dr. Kofi Mensah further hinted that the Bank was looking forward to partnering NAFCO in setting up post-harvest and processing technologies to deal with the many perishables such as plantain and tomatoes.
The Chief Executive Officer of NAFCO, Alhaji Abdul Hannan, on his part, said the introduction of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme has significantly changed the landscape of agriculture in Ghana, stressing that the policy has led to increase in food productivity.
He noted that one of the core mandates of NAFCO is to offer local farmers a ready market for their produce, thereby reducing post-harvest losses and improving productivity in subsequent years.
Alhaji Abdul Hannan therefore pointed out that with the GHC50 facility, the company will be able to purchase grains from farmers for onward supply to selected state institutions, especially the public boarding second cycle institutions under the Free SHS program.
He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, adding that “their passion to see agriculture contribute to the growth of our country’s economy has immensely contributed to what we are witnessing this afternoon”.
The CEO of NAFCO also expressed appreciation to the management of ADB for the confidence reposed in the company and pledged to work assiduously to ensure the judicious use of the facility.
By Benjamin Aidoo | 3news.com