“Supporting Smallholder Farmers with Low-Interest Loans is Key”- IFAD Director

Director, East and Southern Africa Division of IFAD, Sara Mbago-Bhunu

The Director, East and Southern Africa Division of IFAD, Sara Mbago-Bhunu says smallholder farmers in Ghana need low-interest loans to unlock agriculture potentials in the country and help stimulate economic growth.

Sara said increased access to finance will help thousands of smallholder farmers in Ghana expand their farms which will transform the agricultural sector in the country.

She indicated that more than 440,000 smallholder farmers in Mali have benefited from low-interest loans provided by IFAD, “why not same for smallholder farmers in Ghana putting in all their efforts to make ends meet” she quizzed.

“Governments in Africa owed farmers the right of providing them with low-interest loans to ensure they create wealth and increase food security” she added.

Speaking to this reporter in an interview, Sara indicated that her organization is ready to invest in the smallholder farmers through empowering them to reduce poverty and increase food production. “We educate and support farmers with soft-interest loans to continue with their activities to achieve high food production” she added.

The Director said farmers spend a lot of money during the farming season and sometimes they are not able to recoup their monies, and therefore supporting them would be a step in the right direction.

“Our projects provides access to financial services and loans, so that small-scale producers can invest in their businesses and increase their productivity, I think the government of Ghana must be interested in this opportunity” she stated.

On his part the President for the Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB) Nana Adjei Ayeh II believed that smallholder farmers in Ghana need low-interest loans to expand their agriculture potentials.

“Smallholder farmers in Ghana over the years have been the source of our survival and government must do more to keep supporting them to increase production levels” he told this reporter.

The President said with the right support and directions, Ghana will no longer import rice into the country. “All of us must support. It is important for government to give attention to the needs of rice farmers so we can ban importation” he added.

“Formal financial services only reach only 5 per cent of rural communities. Weak infrastructure and low levels of client education all contribute to this complex problem” he whispered.



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