The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported initiative, Ghana Mobilizing Finance in Agriculture (MFA), is committing up to US$261million in loans to expand financing to agribusinesses – including women-led small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in the agricultural sector.
The money, according to the USAID and Feed the Future Ghana, is to enable agricultural enterprises scale up production in areas such as seed acquisition, fertiliser procurement and processing, among others.
As a medium-term funding for up to the year 2024, the MFA envisages supporting some 81,493 agricultural SMEs in the cereal, grains and legumes – as well as tree crops – value chains to access the fund through selected transactional advisors.
Chief of Party for Feed the Future Ghana, Dr. Victor Antwi – who revealed this at the 2023 Women in Agribusiness Summit in Accra, said the amount will expectedly lead to US$500million in new sales by end of the funding year.
He disclosed that the MFA has long been supporting the country’s agricultural financing system to mitigate negative impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on farmers and agribusinesses.
For instance, as of September last year the MFA had facilitated over US$152million to approximately 12,600 agribusinesses across the country; including 62 percent of female-led enterprises for the various priority crops mentioned above.
USAID Mission Director, Kimberly Rosen, said empowering women in agribusiness is the key to unlocking their fullest potentials: “That’s why the US government supports Ghanaian agribusinesses through Feed the Future Ghana Mobilizing Finance in Agriculture (MFA)”.
Through the MFA, Madam Kimberly said the US government has unlocked over US$204million in financing for more than 33,000 agribusinesses, over half of which are women-led and women-owned in the maize, soy, groundnut, cowpea, cashew, mango and shea value chains.
“With key obstacles facing women – including social biases such as limited access to business and investor networks, the MFA’s partner financial institutions have a developed a range of financial products for women in that regard,” Madam Kimberly said.
Gender and Social Protection Minister, Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu, commended USAID’s Feed the Future programme for seeing and prioritizing the critical need to support women in agribusiness across the country.
“When women earn incomes, they are able to address the needs of their households and improve the entire family’s livelihood,” she said.
She said one of government’s key policies is to ensure that no one is left behind in the bid to promote equality, economic transformation and national development.
“It is the reason we find this support by the USAID for female agric entrepreneurs very critical and noteworthy,” the minister said.