Efforts to support smallholder farmers in the country to access finance and market for their produce have received a boost with the launch of the Warehouse Receipt Financing Product (WRFP).
It is under the Ghana Warehouse Receipt System Project, a programme by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The IFC Ghana Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) Project is being implemented in collaboration with the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) in nine regions of the country with financial support from Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
It is a technical assistance and advisory services project aimed at setting up a well-functioning regulated WRS that is expected to facilitate an increased access to credit to farmers and the supply chain, linkage to structured markets and reduce post-harvest storage losses.
The participating Savings and Loans companies of the project, which focuses on providing opportunity for smallholder farmers to store their produce to reduce post-harvest losses include Sinapi Aba, Opportunity International, Adehyeman and Letshego.
Speaking to reporters after the launch of the WRFP, the Chief Operating Officer of the GCX, Mr Robert Owoo, said the WRFP was meant to provide opportunity for smallholder farmers to store their produce, access finance whilst waiting for the price of their produce to appreciate before selling.
He also explained that stakeholders operating within the WRS were also seeking to create opportunity for smallholder farmers to access credit for their farming activities.
“Receipts issued by a warehouse operator serves as evidence that specified commodities with stated quantity and quality have been deposited at a particular locations by a named depositor(s), whilst the warehouse operator holds the stored commodity in a certified warehouse approved by the Ghana Standard Authority and Securities and Exchange Commission, the depositor can use the receipts to access funds from any of the participating financial institutions,” MrOwoo said.
The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Reverend Daniel OgarmeyTetteh, in a statement read on his behalf by his Deputy, Deborah MawuseAgyemfra, lauded the IFC, GCX and the partners for the launch of the project “That a lot of people are skeptical about”.
He said the launch was a “major milestone for smallholder farmers,” and urged them to take advantage of the programme to boost their business.
Rev. Tetteh said the programme was in line with the 10-year development plan recently launched by the SEC, saying his outfit “wants to see an improved regulatory environment for the warehousing sector.”
Mr Kennedy Owusu Poku, beneficiary of the WRSP, said he was satisfied with the initiative and commended IFC and the GCX for implementing the project.
“I deposited my grains and I was able to access funding from one of the partner savings and loans company within a week, this is a good initiative and farmers are grateful,” he said.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE & CECILIA LAGBA