The DALEX Agricultural Financing Boosting funds would be used to provide farming inputs - fertilizer, improved seeds, and combined harvesters to ensure prompt and efficient harvesting of the rice.
Mr Kenneth Kwamina Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of DALEX who unveiled the package explained that DALEX would continue to explore profitable and sustainable model for funding small-holder farmers who were the bedrock of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
He further called on other financial institutions to follow the example of DALEX to support the Agricultural sector.
He said DALEX is working in partnership with Shinkaafa Buni Rice Farmers Association (SHINKAAFA BUNI) “We are mining the value chain by also engaging Avnash Rice Mill, who guaranteed to purchase the rice from the farmers.”
Mr Ken Thompson also called on the Ministry of Agriculture to expedite action to avert the looming disaster posed by the Army Worm.
He indicated that the Army Worm had been found in the Eastern, Brong- Ahafo, Ashanti and Western Regions, and since 2016, had destroyed more than 5,870 hectares of maize, cowpea and cocoa. “The effect of these pests could be worse than the ‘biblical plague of locusts’ if unchecked”.
Mr Nbanty Dagbanja, a rice farmer from Dagbanjado and beneficiary of the DALEX Agricultural Financing Boosting package commended SHINKAAFA and DALEX for providing the seeds that had improved their yields, for the chemicals and fertilizers, and for the harvesting services which had improved the prosperity of his fellow farmers.
Mr Akshay Sharma, Chairperson of SHINKAAFA BUNI and Head, Northern Region, Avnash Industries outlined some of the challenges of Milling Rice in Ghana.
He noted: “The local paddy (raw material) prices are too expensive, as the yields per acre achieved by the farmers generally in Ghana was as low as 800 Kg/ acre compared to minimum of 2.4 MT / acre internationally in Thailand, Vietnam, India, USA, and Pakistan.
“The prices of local rice therefore becomes uncompetitive with imported rice.”
Mr 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.
Mr Samuel Sarpong, Executive Director of SHINKAAFA explained that the company had strengthened the rice sector by engaging the farmers at community level.
He said the partnership with DALEX was part of their mission to develop sustainable models for finance to assist the smallholder farmer.
The DALEX Agricultural Finance Boosting package offered credit facilities to farmers over the innovative Dalex SWIFT mobile platform (*721#).
The SWIFT platform gave subscribers access to investment and savings services.
Farmers received their payments through mobile money and then can make deposits into their investment accounts and have real-time access to their account balances whiles SWIFT provided call centre support in Dagbani.