The Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, Dr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw has asked banks and financial institutions across various countries in Africa to set aside funds to improve agricultural production and financing of food on the continent.
Dr Jasaw insisted that the lack of investment in the sector will derail efforts to ensure Africa’s farmers can feed futuregenerations in the face of climate change and enhanced food security.
He added that food shortages, malnutrition and migration will undo decades of development unless more funding is made available could jeopardize UN global development goals.
According to Dr Jasaw, banks should take the initiative of adequately ‑financing the agricultural sector because the allocation of only 6.7% of the budget in Ghana’s case is grossly insufficient to enable the sector to play its allotted role well in economic diversification.
It still falls short of the Maputo Declaration of at least 10 per cent of the national budget. He explained these funds could constitute as low as two per cent, which will be under the trustee of the central government.
He also indicated that each country’s central bank can explore the possibility of capturing that requirement in their policy for the operations of local banks.
Speaking as a panelist in a roundtable discussion on ‘laws, policies and regulations required for food systems transformation’ in Tanzania, he asserted “Can we look at in-country, across all countries, that ‑nancial institutions should be able to contribute some resources into a basket that will be held by the central government even if it is 2percent of their gross pro‑t, for production, ‑nancing of food in the country along the value chain.
“If they can do that, it goes into a central pool and this money can be given to special financial institutions which will support agricultural value chains at a low-cost credit, at an interest rate that is maybe a single digit, that will be low cost enough for production in specific commodities that we can prioritise 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 government itself has been emphasising the need to diversify the economy into agriculture, Its actions as indicated in budget policies such as Planting for Food and Jobs, and fertiliser subsidies among others could be more for the sector.
This year’s Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit’s theme, “Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation,” focuses on building back better food systems and food sovereignty with youth and women at the centre.
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