OVER 10,000 rice farmers in the Northern region of Ghana are to benefit from credit facilities to grow their farms and improve their livelihoods, thanks to the support of non-bank financial institution, Dalex Finance and Leasing Company Limited.
This was the result of a partnership between Dalex and the Shinkaafa Buni Rice Farmers Association (SHINKAAFA BUNI) in Northern Ghana.
The funds will be used to provide farming inputs such as fertiliser, improved seeds as well as combined harvesters to ensure prompt and efficient harvesting of the rice.
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra last Thursday to throw light on the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DALEX, Mr Kenneth Kwamina Thompson, described how his outfit had set in search of a profitable and sustainable model for funding small-holder farmers “who are the bedrock of Ghana’s agricultural sector”.
He called on other financial institutions to follow the lead of DALEX and fund the Agric sector.
“It can be done. Shinkaafa Buni is a for-profit organisation. We are mining the value chain by also engaging Avnash Rice Mill, who guarantees to purchase the rice from the farmers”.
Nbanty Dagbanja, a rice farmer from Dagbanjado, and beneficiary of the credit programme, commended Shinkaafa and Dalex for providing the seeds that had improved their yields, for the chemicals and fertilisers, and for the harvesting services which has improved the prosperity of his fellow farmers.
Chairperson of Shinkaafa Buni and Head, Northern region Avnash Industries, Akshay Sharma, spoke about the challenges of milling rice in Ghana saying “prices of the local paddy rice are too expensive, as the yields per acre achieved by the farmers generally in Ghana is as low as 800 Kg/ acre compared to minimum of 2.4 MT/acre internationally in Thailand, Vietnam, India, USA, Pakistan.
The local rice price is as a result noncompetitive in comparison with imported rice.
Akshay Sharma supported the ‘One Village, One Dam’ proposal because of the potential of irrigation in raising even higher the yields of the local rice farmer.
The Executive Director of Shinkaafa, Mr Samuel Sarpong, spoke about how Shinkaafa had strengthened the rice sector through its engagement with farmers at community level.
He said the partnership with Dalex was part of their mission to develop sustainable finance models to assist the small-holder farmer.
The Dalex Rice farmer credit programme delivers credit to farmers over the innovative Dalex SWIFT mobile platform (*721#).
The SWIFT platform gives subscribers access to investment/savings services. Farmers receive their payments through mobile money and then can make deposits into their investment accounts. They have real-time access to their account balances while SWIFT provides call center support in Dagbani.