GIRSAL, in partnership with the National Banking College, and Development Bank of Ghana, is proud to announce the 10th cohort of the GIRSAL Agriculture and Agribusiness Lending Course for Staff of Financial Institutions. The first training cohort of three planned for the year is scheduled to begin on February 13th at the National Banking College (NBC).
The Agriculture and Agribusiness Lending Course is a comprehensive and hands-on training program designed to provide financial institutions with the knowledge and skills they need to better understand the agriculture sector and finance its activities. Since its inception in 2020, over 350 mid-level staff (Relationship Managers/ Officers, Credit Managers/ Analysts, Credit Risk Managers/ Officers, Heads of Units/ Branch, SME Bankers, among others) from 27 financial institutions have been equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to accept, assess, appraise, and manage agriculture loans.
The training course on agribusiness loans has positively impacted the financial institution staff’s perception of the agriculture sector. An impact study found that the program effectively changed their mindset and reduced the perception of the sector being high-risk. Participants found the course content relevant and appreciated the facilitators’ knowledge and use of practical examples in the training sessions.
“Indeed, the training content has been very relevant because most of the topics and information shared on the various value chains we did not know of. This knowledge gained from the training is going to impact the way my team and I appraise agribusiness applications when we are confronted with requests from customers and businesses willing to engage in agriculture and be able to make the right preposition and financing solution to help them “– Michael – Participant from UMB Bank
Emily, an Ecobank participant, attests to the impact of the training, “The agribusiness training by GIRSAL in partnership with DBG was very insightful. It has uncovered many agriculture opportunities in Ghana. The facilitators were great and well-experienced, and thoroughly went through each of the topics so that we could understand and pass safe information to our customers looking to venture into this field and serve those already in agriculture better.” She also enjoyed the field trip, which was a valuable part of the training experience.
The success of GIRSAL’s Agriculture and Agribusiness Lending Course is also reflected in the increasing value of credit guarantees that GIRSAL has issued to financial institutions to cover loans to the agricultural sector. In 2020 (the first year of the training program, GIRSAL issued credit guarantees to 7 financial institutions for agricultural loans worth GHS 140.12M. By the end of 2022 (after completing 9 training cohorts) GIRSAL had provided guarantees for over GHS 713.18M in agricultural loans to 15 financial institutions. This growth indicates that financial institutions have become more confident in lending to the agriculture sector, thanks in part to the training program offered by GIRSAL.
John Kwabena Yorke, a Commercial Relationship Manager at Fidelity Bank, found the Agric training very beneficial. The training offered him opportunities to understand the key factors to consider when assessing credit facilities for agribusiness customers. He found the information from the first to the second module to be very good and appreciated the opportunity to meet with industry experts and learn about various value chains, cash crops, and aspects of the credit appraisal process for agriculture. John believes that the training provided a good foundation for him as a relationship manager.
The strategic direction of financial institutions on lending to agriculture is determined by the Board of Directors and implemented by their management. To effectively impact their decision-making, they need to understand the agriculture and agribusiness sector and its opportunities. Feedback from participants showed that training is also needed to reach senior executives and board members responsible for loan policies. In response to this, GIRSAL is collaborating with NBC, with the support of AGRA to design and roll out a new training program, “Making a Business Case for Agriculture Lending,” to provide specialized training sessions for the Board of Directors and senior executives of financial institutions participating in the GIRSAL scheme. The new program, expected to begin in July 2023, aims to reduce the perception of agriculture as being risky and help increase funding to the sector.
GIRSAL’s Agriculture and Agribusiness Lending Course for Staff of Financial Institutions is an important initiative that is making a difference in the agricultural sector. By providing financial institutions with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about agribusiness loans, the training is helping to create a more vibrant and thriving agriculture sector in Ghana. The impact of the program is clear, and the feedback from participants is largely positive. GIRSAL and its partners are proud to be a part of this important initiative and look forward to supporting the agriculture sector’s growth through this and other initiatives in the future.