‘Single Digit Interest’ vital to boost agriculture – Agribusiness Chamber

To upscale the development of agriculture and its related businesses in the country, the Chamber of Agribusiness (CAG) is urging government to introduce a single digit interest policy for the agricultural sector.

This is imperative if the country’s quest for food security, industrialization and non-oil foreign exchange earnings must be attained.

In an interview with Goldstreet Business, the CEO of the Chamber, Anthony Morrison said, “currently we access credit facilities at about 27 percent to 30 percent, which just like what anyone would do in the economy.”

He noted the sector in Nigeria receives credit at an interest of nine percent, whereas in Europe it is between two and three percent, with Brazil at five to seven percent.

“So, we need to also advance the support system for agriculture,” he emphasized.

Agricultural Fund

Morrison also called for an agriculture fund which will help develop and provide sustainable financing and a robust value chain, both in commodities and start-up funds.

He suggested that government could seed part of the oil fund and ensure that a consistent percentage is paid into the fund, similar to what is being done in other sectors like health and education.

“We are asking for funding to be made available for farmers across the country to be registered and given special cards, this in the view of the Chamber will cater for credit worthiness of farmers and will therefore make it much easier to access credit, at the same time farmers can now pay tax using the same system”, Morrison explained.

As at September 2017, the agriculture sector had attracted just about 3.7 percent of the GHS 38.70 billion credit advanced in the banking industry considering its relative importance to job creation and economic growth. This is an indication of high nature of lending rates in the country.

Last month, President Akufo Addo announced that the Bank of Ghana is to set up a GHS500 million fund to support agriculture in the country. However, Morrison opined that fund announced is rather intended for the Ghana Agriculture Incentive Risk Sharing System.

By Joshua W. Amlanu