In a strategic collaboration with the National Banking College (NBC), and AGRA, GIRSAL is making important strides in reshaping agricultural financing in Ghana. This endeavour involves educating and empowering decision-makers within financial institutions, including executive management and boards, to better understand agriculture and support agribusiness.
The landscape of agricultural financing is fraught with both real and perceived risks. Recognizing this, GIRSAL views training as a vital tool to bolster the capacity of financial institutions. This training equips them to effectively manage the tangible risks while also refocusing their attention on the vast opportunities within the agricultural sector.
Despite the success of GIRSAL’s Agriculture and Agribusiness training program, which has drawn participation from over 530 members of 39 financial institutions, the involvement of senior management has remained low. A survey of program participants revealed a notable information gap between the trained mid-level staff and the senior management of these financial institutions. It became evident that those at the helm, responsible for loan approval, policy formulation, and the ultimate lending decisions, needed a specialized training program of their own.
Recognizing the critical importance of bridging this knowledge gap at all organizational levels, GIRSAL, in partnership with the National Banking College, developed a specialized agriculture and agribusiness training program, aptly named “Making a Business Case for Agriculture and Agribusiness Lending.” This program is meticulously tailored for senior leadership within the banking sector, offering them insights into the agricultural sector and its unique financing requirements.
The training sessions are thoughtfully designed to be informative and insightful. They provide valuable insights into the agricultural sector, highlighting both its opportunities and challenges. Participants learn about risk mitigation tools and support services, enabling them to navigate the sector more effectively. Additionally, the program underscores agriculture’s importance in Ghana’s socio-economic development and explains the differences between traditional financing and value chain financing in agriculture. Moreover, the sessions explore recent developments in agribusiness financing and encourage the adoption of innovative tools customized for agricultural value chain financing.
This initiative holds the promise of fostering a deeper understanding and support for agricultural lending within financial institutions at the executive level. It is anticipated to have a positive impact on the efficiency of loan approval processes, leading to reduced rejection rates. It aims to channel more substantial funding into the agricultural sector, thereby contributing to its growth and development. The program is funded by AGRA and is targeting 70 Board Directors and 70 Executive management members from GIRSAL’s Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) by the end of 2023.
To significantly contribute to the growth and prosperity of the agricultural sector, all levels of financial institution staff must possess a thorough understanding of crucial aspects, such as the investment potential in agriculture, the dynamics of the sector, and the support systems available. This knowledge empowers banks to make well-informed decisions and provide effective support to this critical sector.