The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, has urged financial institutions to join government’s efforts in supporting women in agribusiness with loans to procure critical inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizer, agricultural technology, and processing equipment.
She said government, through the Ghana Enterprises Agency and Microfinance and Small Loans Centre, provides loans and grants for start-ups and small businesses, including women-led and owned, but it is important for the private sector, particularly financial institutions to support that course.
The Minister made the call when she addressed Women in Agribusiness Summit 2023 in Accra, which was organized by USAID-supported Feed the Future Ghana Mobilizing Finance in Agriculture (MFA) Activity under the theme “Empowering Women in Agriculture through Enhanced Access to Finance.”
The Summit brought together agricultural stakeholders including agribusinesses, transaction advisors, investors, financial institutions, research institutions, civil society groups and trade associations.
The event showcased investment opportunities in female-led Ghanaian agribusinesses and connected them to investors for financing.
The Gender Minister, who doubles as Member of Parliament for Walewale, also commended MFA for its innovative ways of financing women’s agribusinesses to aid government’s efforts to empower more women to become business leaders and key industry players.
“I applaud MFA for providing business advisory services to women-led agribusinesses in their quest to access financing. Your partnership with financial institutions to develop financing products which are tailored to women, reduce loan interest and to accept social guarantees instead of collateral is laudable,” she said.
The USAID Ghana Mission Director, Kimberly Rosen, in the opening remarks, disclosed that the USAID-supported Feed the Future Ghana Mobilizing Finance in Agriculture (MFA) Activity has facilitated over $204.47 million financing for over 33,000 agribusinesses in the value chains of maize, soy, groundnut, cowpea, cashew, mango, and shea, adding that “over half of the beneficiaries are women-led and women-owned.”
She said “We believe in promoting gender equality and recognizing the unique role that women play in the agricultural industry. Women are the backbone of agriculture, and their contributions to food security and national development are invaluable. But we all know that there are still many challenges that women face, like lack of access to land, financing, markets, agricultural technologies, and inputs.”
A Senior Technical Advisor, Economic Growth at Palladium, Implementers of the USAID-supported Feed the Future Ghana Mobilizing Finance in Agriculture (MFA) Activity, Amanda Grevery, on her part, underscored the importance of investing in women-led agribusinesses, saying “investing in women is not just critical for economic development and food security, it is good business. Agricultural enterprises with greater women’s leadership and participation are more stable, and less likely to default on their loans.”