The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Ghana's largest agric and development financier has opened a new Branch at Apimenim in the Western Region. This becomes the 77th Branch of the Bank and the 7th in the Western Region.
Performing the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of ADB, Alhaji Ibrahim Adam said ADB will continue to put more into agricultural production and combine this with the financing of agro-industry to generate value addition.
He said the new Branch has been opened in the heart of the rubber industry in collaboration with Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) and that this is being replicated in other parts of the western and northern regions to deepen the services of ADB in many more agricultural areas in the country.
"This form of collaboration is one of the solutions to agricultural financing and we shall pursue it vigorously," he said.
Alhaji Adam commented on accusations from certain quarters that the participation of ADB in other sectors of the national economy is to the detriment of agricultural financing. He said ADB has remained the most viable and successful bank in Africa devoted to agricultural financing due to its deliberate policy of participating in other sectors of the economy.
"This has sustained the ability of ADB to execute its agricultural financing mandate' he said.
The Managing Director of ADB, Mr. Stephen Kpordzih disclosed that ADB has significantly increased its agricultural loan approvals in the last three years from GHÂÂ¢39.2 million in 2009, to GHÂÂ¢100.1 million in 2010, and GHÂÂ¢141.7 million in 2011.
"As at mid-October 2012, total loan approvals to agriculture had already reached GHÂÂ¢146.0 million and indications are that we are well on course to exceed the budget of GHÂÂ¢148.0 million targeted for the agricultural sector in 2012," he said.
Mr. Kpordzih said ADB has partnered GREL to implement three of the phases of the rubber outgrower project since its inception in 1993. In the first phase, 400 outgrower farmers cultivated 1,200 hectares which was increased to 2,800 hectares by 500 outgrower farmers in the next phase and 2,800 outgrower farmers cultivating 10,700 hectares of rubber in the fourth phase.
Mr. Kpordzih said the first two phases of the rubber outgrower project involved the on-lending of loans procured by the Government from the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD). However, in the fourth phase, ADB itself procured the loan from the AFD as a non-sovereign loan directly to ADB without government's guarantee.
"Following this success, negotiations have commenced with AFD and GREL to implement the fifth phase of the Rubber Outgrower Project which is projected to cultivate 12,000 hectares of rubber by 4000 outgrower farmers. In addition, at the corporate level, ADB intends to support GREL with a term loan of Euros 25.0 million to establish new plantations at Awudua and Agona Abirem both in the Western Region," Mr. Kpordzih indicated.
Mr. Kpordzih disclosed that the new Apimenim Branch will ensure that the outgrower farmers will receive their funds within a maximum of two hours after supplying their rubber to the GREL factory, and also offer the entire community our full range of banking services. He assured the people that ADB will work with GREL to improve their living standards.
The Managing Director of GREL, Mr. Lionel Barres said the GREL rubber outgrower project is one of the best and biggest in the world and that by the end of 2015, the project will have more than 12,000 outgrowers by the cultivating 40,000 hectares of rubber in the Western, Central and Ashanti Regions. He lauded the support of ADB to GREL in the implementation of the project.