Saturday, 28 May

Collaborating to create value across the agricultural value chain – Stanbic Bank

Feature Article
A quarter of the country’s entire GDP depends on crops such as cocoa, maize, yams, and cassava

Throughout Ghana’s history, agriculture has been recognised as the most important sector, employing half of the country’s population while at the same time contributing significantly to the economy.

A quarter of the country’s entire GDP depends on crops such as cocoa, maize, yams, and cassava.

It is a known fact that agriculture contributes up to 54 % of Ghana’s GDP, and accounts for over 40 % of export earnings, while at the same time providing over 90 % of the food needs of the country.

But in recent times, however, the sector has experienced slower growth than other sectors of the economy such as services and industry.

To make the situation even more worrying, Ghana commenced the commercial production of oil in 2011, further affecting the growth of the sector as concentration shifted to the oil and gas sector of the economy.


Deliberate steps by both government and private actors to reverse this trend over the years, have met mixed results.

Amid this stop and start cycle, the planting for food and jobs initiative was launched in 2017 to promote food security and immediate availability of selected food crops on the market and also provide jobs.

Other Agric interventions including the renewed focus on cashew and oil palm production, an aggressive drive for the consumption of locally produced food, an industrialisation drive through the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy, to mention a few are all efforts aimed at repositioning the agriculture sector. 

All the attempts across the decades have a common thread; the realisation that the rewards would be greater when the value chain is deepened.

For the past 14 years, Stanbic Bank Ghana, through its agricultural proposition, has been working to improve the agriculture sector across selected agribusiness value chains.

With a deep understanding of the full range of activities within the sector, Stanbic Bank’s knowledge-based approach has been aided by the deployment of smart digital solutions to scale up the state of agriculture.

Beyond this, the bank also leverages the experience of its parent organisation, the Standard Bank Group in agriculture funding to assist in the rollout of enhanced agriculture services.

The bank also has support systems that augment the work of private extension officers in agriculture enterprise development. 

Massive investments in digitisation have proven useful in scaling the agribusiness value chain.

The bank, through its digitisation drive, has been able to deploy remote sensing, digitisation of small loans and generate insights from data to gain a deeper understanding of the sector.

This is being done because Stanbic Bank regards itself not only as a financier but also as an integral contributor to the development and transformation of agriculture. 

In September last year, Stanbic Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding with agricultural and processing machinery, TIAST Group, to finance buyers of cassava processing equipment to boost the sector in the country.

The strategic cooperation will provide financial assistance to cassava entrepreneurs for 2 to 5 years of equipment finance lease service, and a complete closed-loop financial support service.

The agreement will also help entrepreneurs to design capacity, match the standardized production line equipment to provide spare parts and consumables supply, standardised training of local technicians and off-take service. 

As part of the agreement, the bank is also working with its partners within the agribusiness sector to facilitate a USD$5.8 million funding for the construction of a cassava/starch processing factory in Jomoro in the Western Region of Ghana. 

These interventions are carefully thought through strategies aimed at enhancing Ghana’s agricultural value chain.

Through such interventions and tailor-made solutions, the Bank has become a beacon for all within the agribusiness value chain.
 

The writer is the Head, Business Development & Origination, and Acting Head of Agribusiness at Stanbic Bank

 

 

Source: By Benedict Obeng