By Joseph Nana Yaw Cobbina
The Executive Director Of Competitive Cashew Initiative-GIZ/Comcashew Madam Rita Weidinger , said the maiden edition of the Access to finance forum ,on the theme:The role of financial institutions in the Agricultural sector. Investors decision to invest into processing are closely influenced by access to financial instruments, if appropriate risk mitigation products are lacking or if available financial instruments do not match processors needs, they may be discouraged to adapt better technologies, purchase agricultural inputs,or make other decisions that can improve the efficiency of their business.
She note that improving access to financial would increase processors choice and provide them with more effective tools to manage risks.
Therefore,this forum is being organized to create a platform for the processors to interact with financial institutions to equip both parties with the necessary information for financial products that will meet the agro processing sector.
According to her, needs to jointly develop appropriate financial products for value chains in to increase their local manufacture and hence income for the local population,notably women.
The global demand for Cashew has been increasing by 7-10percent annually over the last 10years.This trend would continue in the next year’s as healthy eating increases among consuming countries.
She laments that if Ghana processes its total of 110,000MT of RCN and it’s shells, at least 30,000 jobs would be created in rural communities in Ghana;over USD20 million paid annually in wages alone whereas the gross value of kernel and shell derivatives would exceed USD210 million annually.
Ghana’s oil palm imports increase from 163,000 tonnes in 2015 to 203,000 tonnes in 2016, an increase of about 23.9 percent over a one year period.This certainly shows room for local processing as the market already exists within the country.
The total 2016 alone is recorded at USD337million.
She mentioned that the Ghana is in great need for financial support in the oil palm and Cashew processing sector.
Meanwhile H.E.Mr Ron Strikker Ambassador of the Netherlands to Ghana pointed out that Ghana’s Agriculture has so many potentials and therefore serves as a backbone of the Ghanaian economy and may contribute immensely to the transformation of the country in terms of food security, poverty reduction and economic – Ghana beyond aid agenda.
This is so because, financing allows farmers to invest in new technologies and access better inputs, thereby increasing yields significant and contributing to food security and better income.
In his remarks to officially opening the ceremony the technical director of the ministry of food and agriculture (MoFA) Mr Seth Osei Akoto who read the speech on behalf of the sector minister reiterated to the fact that though contribution of Agriculture to the GDP of Ghana has declined steadily over the years to 19percent as at the third quarter of 2018 according to the Ghana Statistics Service; Agriculture still contributes immensely to economic growth through high employment as well as cushioning Ghana’s foreign exchange position through exports.
In 2018; Cashew contributed 196 Mio USD to the economic sector of Ghanas non-traditional export (overall 371Mio USD) in 2018.
The 5-years PERD programme will support 1million farmers in 170 district with certified free planting materials to cover over one million hectares of farmlands and 10,000 young graduates as crop specialized extension officers.
According to him, amid all these interventions, the issue of access to finance through the various value chains cannot be overemphasized. Funding is required to transform ideas into concrete and tengible ends.
He hinted that Ghana produce 243,852MT(2016) of CPO but with a local demand of over 295,000MT annually, indicating a deficit of over 35,000MT annually, this leaves the idea of CPO exports in the shadows.
He said Ghana imports over 30,000MT CPO annually from Asia with government spending USD 300 million annually on this importation to make up the deficit.
Mr Akoto Said Oil palm plantation are as effective as rain forests in reducing carbon dioxide, a critical contributing to global warming. Hence Oil palm plantations ensure better climatic conditions and in addition provide more employment than forest.
By Joseph Nana Yaw Cobbina