Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said that although the government had done its best to boost food production by subsidizing the prices of agricultural inputs, such as chemicals, banks had not granted enough loans to complete this effort.
This, according to the minister, had made the prices of foodstuffs and other agricultural products high in the market. Therefore, the government will soon ask parliament to propose legislation requiring commercial banks in the country to allocate 20% of their loan portfolio to farmers, he said.
Dr Akoto said that to address the issue of financial challenges faced by farmers, legislation was being sought to compel commercial banks to extend at least 20% of their loan portfolio to farmers. This, he said, would boost food production and at the same time make food prices affordable for Ghanaians.
The Minister, who spoke passionately about the issue, pointed out that in India, for example, for the past 30 years, it was mandatory for banks to allocate a certain amount of their loans to farmers to support the agriculture in this country.
“What we need to do as a country is force commercial banks, through legislation, to allocate resources to support farmers and agriculture as a whole,” he said.