Dr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw, the Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Committee on Food, Agriculture, and Cocoa Affairs, has called upon banks and financial institutions across various African countries to allocate funds to enhance agricultural production and support food financing on the continent.
He emphasised that a lack of investment in the agricultural sector could jeopardize Africa’s ability to feed future generations, especially in the face of climate change and the need for improved food security.
Dr. Jasaw stressed that inadequate funding for the agricultural sector could lead to food shortages, malnutrition, and migration, potentially undoing decades of development progress unless more substantial financial support becomes available.
He urged banks to proactively allocate more resources to the agricultural sector, highlighting that the allocation of only 6.7% of Ghana’s budget, for example, is insufficient for the sector to fulfill its vital role in economic diversification. This allocation falls short of the Maputo Declaration’s recommendation of dedicating at least 10% of the national budget to agriculture.
Dr. Jasaw suggested that this funding could constitute as little as two percent of banks’ gross profits, which would be managed by the central government.
He also proposed that each country’s central bank explore the possibility of including this requirement in their policies for the operations of local banks. These funds, once pooled together, could be channeled to special financial institutions that would provide low-cost credit with single-digit interest rates to support agricultural value chains. This approach aims to enable the production of specific commodities at a lower cost, making them competitive with imported goods like rice and chicken.
Dr. Jasaw’s call aligns with the government’s emphasis on diversifying the economy through agriculture, as evidenced by policies such as “Planting for Food and Jobs” and fertilizer subsidies.
The Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit, with the theme “Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation,” focuses on rebuilding resilient food systems and achieving food sovereignty, with a particular emphasis on involving youth and women in these efforts.