That, according to the institutions, would help package them as business entities to enable them to attract credit facilities.
The financial institutions, including the Ghana Agricultural Insurance Pool, the GCB Bank, the Opportunity International Bank and BIEGE Capital, gave the advice at a round-table forum on, “Access to credit by small holder farmers, the role of financial institutions”.
The forum, organised by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), was to brainstorm on identifiable challenges of providing credit to the sector, and possible solutions from both sides of demand and supply. It also formed part of activities to support small holder farmers to access credit to help increase productivity and ensure food security in the country.
The institutions indicated that the banks could not dole out their resources if the peasant farmers do not have well structured polices to help them in their quest to feed the nation, as well as when they want to expand their businesses
“No financial institution will deal with an individual farmer who does not have a business plan or the type of crop he or she wants to produce, ready market for the produce and the availability of access roads to the farm”, they said.
They indicated that the committee would then lobby their members of parliament for a change in government policy towards peasant farmers.
The institutions cited, France in Europe and elsewhere, where government looks at the business proposals of farmers before offering them financial assistance.
They called for more commitment, on the part of farmers, to honour their loan obligations and to also start daily, weekly or monthly savings to serve as collateral for any facility they might need from the banks.
The president of PFAG, Mr. Abdul-Rahman Mohammed, in his welcome statement, said farming is now a business and must be taken seriously.
The challenges in the agriculture sector, he said, had made it difficult for farmers to produce to their full capacity, citing the lack of credit to purchase inputs such as fertiliser, preparation of land, labour, harvesting and post harvest management and storage as major headaches for members.
The Programme Co-ordinator of PFAG, Madam Victoria Adongo, said since small holder farmers are gradually moving away from subsistence farming into commercial and agri-business, prospects are high that farmers would promptly honour their credit obligations.
By Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu