The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has granted a loan of GH¢50 million to the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) to procure foodstuffs from farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative for supply to public senior high schools (SHSs).
The loan is also to enable NAFCO to mop up excess produce from farmers to reduce post-harvest losses resulting from poor storage.
The amount is the first tranche of about GH¢200 million earmarked by the bank to support actors in the agricultural value chain in the country.
Last year, ADB provided the company a loan of GH¢20 million to purchase grains from farmers under the PFJ programme.
The Managing Director of ADB, Dr John Kofi Mensah, explained that this year the amount was increased because “NAFCO performed creditably and paid up the facility on schedule”.
He again attributed the increase to the fact that farm lands under the PFJ initiative had increased, while the third stream of students under the free SHS policy would be going to school in September this year, with an expected increase in food requirement for their feeding.
He further said the ADB was partnering NAFCO to set up appropriate post-harvest and processing infrastructure to deal with perishable foodstuffs such as plantain and tomatoes.
He said the presentation also demonstrated the Bank’s commitment to serve the interest of players in the Ghanaian agricultural value chain “and we see NAFCO as a reliable partner to achieve this feat”.
Dr Mensah said apart from supporting NAFCO to purchase grains, the bank would continue to help aggregators licensed by NAFCO to purchase grains and other foodstuffs for supply to SHSs.
The Chief Executive Officer of NAFCO, Alhaji Hanan Abdul-Wahab, said the mandate of the company was to offer local farmers a ready market for their produce to reduce post-harvest losses and also improve productivity.
He said the introduction of the PFJ had significantly changed the landscape of agriculture in the country, leading to increased food production and the availability of a ready market for farmers.
He described the partnership between the company and the ADB as encouraging and expressed the hope that it would attract the youth into farming for accelerated development.
The Technical Advisor to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Emmanuel Asante Krobea, said “What we are witnessing today is a game changer for the PFJ programme.”
He commended NAFCO for packaging itself creditably to attract the facility from the bank and expressed appreciation to the management of the ADB for the support.