According to Ghana’s Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (METASIP), 2011 to 2015 (and updated plan 2016-2020) the Government of Ghana is aiming to generate three billion euros from the export of non-traditional products by 2017. There is also increasing demand for non-traditional commodities-fruits and vegetables from Ghana to the European Union (EU) and United States’ markets. These present a great opportunity for enterprising young men and women to be active actors in the sector as producers, processors, input suppliers, aggregators, and exporters.
During recent focus group discussions (FGD) conducted for representatives of youth groups in northern and southern Ghana under the theme: Ghana’s Youth and inclusive agricultural financing, representatives from the Federation of Young Farmers’ Ghana and Guza Kuza urgently expressed the need for banks, non-bank financial institutions, and venture capital firms to design and deploy youth-friendly financial packages. Such innovative products could be in a form of matching financing, limited in-kind collateralisation, secured markets for youth-cultivated commodities, and crop/livestock insurance.
An Agricultural Extension Officer from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Central Region also argued the need for International development partners to introduce Guarantee Funds for their youth-supported projects as leverage for financial institutions to effectively advance credit, and financing for profitable and sustainable youth agribusiness enterprises in Ghana. A representative of Women in Agriculture Development of MoFA regional office in Tamale further advanced support for tax waivers spanning at least 5 years for youth-managed agribusiness start-ups in Ghana.
As an endnote, a representative from the Ghana chapter of the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) shared the view that government policies on financing youth in agriculture should be effectively targeted with appropriate milestones, for impact measurement and assessment.
The workshops were organised by Syecomp Ghana Ltd as part of activities under a grant activity: Improving Approaches to Mainstreaming Gender in Ghana’s Youth Policy and Youth in Agriculture Programme: Focus on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Market-Oriented Value Chains; and sponsored by the USAID|Ghana Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project, which is being implemented by Chemonics International Inc. (USA).
Generally participants at the workshop critically expounded innovative approaches for inclusive agribusiness financing in Ghana.
During interactions, it was understood that inter-dependent linkages of the agricultural value chain and the security of a market-driven demand for the final product can provide suppliers, producers, processors and marketing companies with more secure access to procurement and sale of products. This reduces costs and risks of doing business and improves access to finance as well as other services needed by those within the value chain. An area worth exploring was the use of the Ghana Buffer Stock Company (GBSC) as a leverage by young men and women farmers to access scaling-up financing from financial institutions.
A director of the Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) unit of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Tamale Metro office commendably indicated that with the emergence and development of profitable agricultural value chains, the agricultural sector which hitherto has inherent financing issues will now be more attractive to young Ghanaian men and women.
This is the 4th in a 12-series blog articles to espouse the context of the Position Paper on effectively mainstreaming Youth in Agriculture in Ghana which is under development with support from USAID/Agricultural Policy Support Programme (USAID/APSP).
Author: Syecomp Ghana Ltd
Email the author: Projects@syecomp.com
The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.