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Micro finance institutions support smallholder farmers to deal with post-harvest losses

Economics Post Harvest Losses

Four micro finance institutions have committed to support smallholder farmers in Ghana to deal with post-harvest losses with soft loans to access warehouses and structured market.

The Ghana Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) project would enable the savings and loans companies to offer credit to farmers at relatively affordable interest rates to access storage facilities and structured markets.

This is the first time that the initiative, which was launched in 2017, is receiving support from savings and loans institutions and focus on post-harvest losses of rice, soy and maize.

The move by the companies – Sinapi Aba, Opportunity International, Adehyeman and Letshego, is to also increase the income of farmers, who often lost their produce about 50 per cent of the produce after harvesting due to lack of access to warehouses.

Under the project, farmers in nine regions of the country would be given receipts to serve as evidence that specified commodities with stated quantity and quality have been deposited at locations by a named depositor (s).

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) project is in partnership with the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) with financial support from the Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Justice Sagoe, the Head of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Lending and Deposits Mobilisation at Letshego, who spoke for the financial institutions, said they were committed to supporting the farmers with credit facilities at relatively affordable rates.

Sharing his experience from visits to some farmers in the selected regions for the project, he bemoaned the long distances, poor road networks and the cost involved in transporting produce to warehouses and markets.

This, he said, served as a disincentive to many farmers who were forced to sell their produce at lower prices to buyers from Ghana’s neighbouring countries, and called for the Government’s intervention.

Mr Sagoe asked the Government and all stakeholders in the agriculture value chain to pay particular attention to the plight op of farmers in the country, whom, he said, sacrificed so much to ensure that there is always food for Ghanaians. “I believe that as a country we need to pay more attention to our farmers…We are in to do all we can to improve the lives of farmers.”

Mr Robert Dowuona Owoo, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX), said the project would help smallholder farmers store their produce and reduce post-harvest losses.

He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to work together to ensure that farmers had access to finance to enable them access storage facilities and markets at reduced costs.

Reverend Ogbarmey Tetteh, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in a statement read on his behalf at the launch, lauded the partners for the project, which focused on an area that many were “skeptical” about.

He encouraged Ghanaian farmers to take advantage of the project and called on the participating financial institutions and the other stakeholders for the project to ensure a fair and transparent market for farmers and traders.

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