Dalex Finance and Leasing Company Ltd. (DALEX) has announced that it will, in partnership with Shinkaafa Buni Rice Farmers Association (SHINKAAFA BUNI), offer grant credit to over 10,000 rice farmers in Northern Ghana.
The Chief Executive Officer of DALEX, Kenneth Kwamina Thompson called on other financial institutions to follow the company’s lead and fund the Agric sector; to provide farming inputs e.g. fertiliser, improved seeds, etc. and combined harvesters to ensure prompt and efficient harvesting of the rice.
The DALEX Rice farmer credit program delivers credit to farmers over the innovative Dalex SWIFT mobile platform (*721#). The SWIFT platform gives subscribers access to investment/savings services. Farmers are expected to receive their payments through mobile money and then make deposits into their investment accounts. They have real-time access to their account balances whiles SWIFT provides call centre support in Dagbani.
Speaking at the conference held in Accra on Friday, June 30, Mr Thompson expressed optimism over the program.
“It can be done,” he said. “SHINKAAFA BUNI is a for-profit organization. We are mining the value chain by also engaging Avnash Rice Mill, who guarantee to purchase the rice from the farmers.”
Speaking on the looming damages which usually accrues to rice farming, Thompson called on the Ministry of Agriculture to expedite action to avert the threats of Army Worms which he said has been found in the Eastern, Brong- Ahafo, Ashanti and Western Regions.
A 2016 record shows that Army Worms have destroyed more than 5,870 hectares of maize, cowpea and cocoa. Hence DALEX Finance CEO pointed out that the effect of these pests could be worse than the ‘biblical plague of locusts’ if unchecked.
Some the rice farmers who were beneficiaries of the credit program commended SHINKAAFA and DALEX Finance for providing the seeds that had improved their yields, for the chemicals and fertilizers, and for the harvesting services which has improved the prosperity of his fellow farmers.
Akshay Sharma who is the Chairperson of SHINKAAFA BUNI and Head Northern Region, Avnash Industries spoke on the challenges in the industry and he explained that the price of local paddy (raw material) is too expensive since the yields per acre achieved by the farmers in Ghana is as low as 800 Kg/ acre – which is small compared to minimum of 2.4 MT / acre internationally iMT/acres such as in Vietnam, India, USA, Pakistan and other rice-producing nations.
Mr Sharma also expressed his support for the “One Village – One Dam” proposal because of the potential of irrigation in raising even higher the yields of the local rice farmer.
DALEX Finance and Leasing Company Limited is a Ghanaian non-bank financial institution, licensed and regulated by the Bank of Ghana since 2006.