Business News of 2013-12-17

Stanbic injects GH¢100m into agriculture

Stanbic Bank has injected over GH¢100million into the development and modernisation of agriculture -- outside cocoa -- in the country over the past two years.

“The scope of our lending covers the entire value chain; input distribution, production, processing, warehousing and final distribution; and our support for horticulture and poultry production will soon see tremendous improvement,” head of agric section at the bank, Joseph Douglas Turkson, said.

He said that efforts are underway to develop the right structures under which financing can be made available to develop horticulture and poultry production.

His remarks were in response to an appeal by third national best farmer Edward Maxwell Aninkorah of Aninkorah Farms Limited for financial institutions to support farmers with special loan facilities that attract low interest rates.

Mr. Aninkorah made the appeal after Stanbic Bank had presented him with a double-cabin pick-up track valued at US$23,000 as second runner-up at this year’s Farmers’ Day presentation.

“Offering loans to farmers at the same rate as contractors is a great disservice to the country’s agric sector. The banks must support us with loans at special rates that support the development of agriculture,” he said.

He thanked Stanbic Bank for its continuous support for farmers over the years, and expressed hope that the quantum of support will continue to increase.

Head of Personal and Business Banking at Stanbic, Nana Dwemoh Benneh, gave assurance that the bank’s support is being extended to cover other areas of the sector. “Stanbic is a member of the Ghana Grains Council and financed the first warehouse receipts by the council to the tune of over GH¢2.4m.

“When the warehouse receipts system becomes fully operational it will greatly boost the production of cereals because farmers will be assured of markets for their produce, and will have funds available to cultivate again during the next season,” he noted.

In addition to various interventions, Stanbic has been supporting the National Farmers’ Day since 2007.

Mr. Benneh added that the bank was the first to introduce weather-indexed insurance to cover crop production in Ghana, and is a member of the Ghana Agric Insurance Pool -- which is currently implementing innovative agricultural insurance products in the sector.