Dr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw, the deputy ranking member of the parliamentary committee on food, agriculture, and cocoa affairs, has urged banks and financial institutions in several African nations to set aside money to boost food production and finance on the continent.
Dr. Jasaw emphasized that efforts to ensure that African farmers can feed future generations in the face of climate change and improved food security will be thwarted by the absence of investment in the industry.
Without additional investment, he said, food shortages, starvation, and migration will reverse decades of progress.
Dr. Jasaw contends that banks should take the lead in providing the agricultural sector with enough finance since in Ghana’s situation, the sector’s allocation of only 6.7% of the budget is woefully inadequate to allow it to effectively fulfill its designated role in economic diversification.
It is still less than the Maputo Declaration’s requirement of at least 10% of the national budget.
He explained that these monies, which would fall under the trusteeship of the national government, may make up as little as 2%.
Additionally, he said that the central banks of each nation may consider including that condition in their guidelines for how local banks should conduct their business.
“Can we look at in-country, across all countries, that financial institutions should be able to contribute some resources into a basket that will be held by the central government, even if it is 2 percent of their gross product, for production, nancing of food in the country along the value chain?” he asserted while participating as a panelist in a roundtable discussion on “laws, policies, and regulations required for food systems transformation” in Tanzania.
“If they can do that, it goes into a central pool, and this money can be given to special financial institutions that will support agricultural value chains at a low-cost credit, at an interest rate that is perhaps a single digit, that will be low cost enough for production in specific commodities that we can prioritize to be able to produce at a cost that is low enough to compete with the imported commodities that we bring in – rice, chicken…”
The importance of incorporating agriculture into the economy has been emphasized by the government itself.
The sector might benefit more from its initiatives, as evidenced by budget programs like Planting for Food and Jobs and fertilizer subsidies, among others.
The focus of the ‘Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation’ topic for Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit is on restoring healthier food systems and food sovereignty with a focus on women and young people. ure.