Farmers form savings and loans association
Farmers in 22 predominantly farming communities in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis have formed a village savings and loans association (VSLAs) to raise funds for their respective farming activities.
It is also aimed at providing easy savings and credit facilities in a community that does not have easy access to formal financial services.
The formation of the various VSLAs which is through the instrumentality of Hopefin Trust (HFT), a Sekondi-Takoradi metropolitan-based financial non governmental organisation (NGO), has so far benefited 520 villages in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Area (STMA), Ahanta West, Shama and the Mpohor Wassa Districts.
The communities include Bowohobozen, Mbredani, Bomba, Aprapranso Essumankrom, Ampatu, Ntankoful, Adentum, Whimdo, Kwakutiekrom, Asemco, Kafakrom, Ankyrem 2 and Agona 2.
Already, the Bowohobozen 17-member group, which started its GH¢2.00 contribution in April 2014, has been able to raise GH¢11, 255 to be shared among them.
The Executive Director of HFN, Mrs Mycel Acquah-Mensah, explained to the Daily Graphic that with the daily contribution of GH¢2.00 accumulated for a year, they were able to mobilise substantial savings which the individual farmers could easily access as loans without providing any collateral security.
She further indicated that the move was intended to improve the livelihoods of members and also enable them to support their families, particularly their children's education.
The executive director said the NGO was interested in the empowerment of women and other vulnerable groups; hence, the decision to assist in the formation of the VSLAs which was dominated by women farmers.
Mrs Acquah-Mensah said she was mobilising the individual farmers to take loans from financial institutions but realised that the high interest rate was not helping them.
She again explained that in March 2014, the Ghana Association of Micro Finance (GAMFIN), in collaboration with Sustainable Micro Finance Enterprise Project, organised a workshop facilitated by resource persons from the University of Carley, New Hampshire, USA, of which she was a participant to learn much more about VSLA.