Dalex Finance and Leasing Company Ltd. (DALEX), the leading non-bank financial institution in Ghana, has announced a partnership with Shinkaafa Buni Rice Farmers Association (SHINKAAFA BUNI) that will provide credit to over 10,000 Rice farmers in Northern Ghana. The funds will be used to provide farming inputs e.g. fertilizer, improved seeds, etc. and combined harvesters to ensure prompt and efficient harvesting of the rice.
Speaking on the DALEX Rice Farmers program, the CEO of DALEX, Mr Kenneth Kwamina Thompson, set out the pride of DALEX in finding a profitable and sustainable model for funding small-holder farmers who are the bedrock of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
He further called on other financial institutions to follow the lead of DALEX and fund the Agric sector. He said “It can be done. 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.”
Ken Thompson also called on the Ministry of Agriculture to expedite action to avert the looming disaster posed by the Army Worm. He indicated that the Army Worm has been found in the Eastern, Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti and Western Regions. Since 2016, the Army Worms have destroyed more than 5,870 hectares of maize, cowpea and cocoa. The effect of these pests could be worse than the ‘biblical plague of locusts’ if unchecked.
The press conference was also addressed by Nbanty Dagbanja, a rice farmer from Dagbanjado and beneficiary of the credit program. He commended SHINKAAFA and DALEX for providing the seeds that had improved their yields, for the chemicals and fertilizers and for the harvesting services which have improved the prosperity of his fellow farmers.
Akshay Sharma, the Chairperson of SHINKAAFA BUNI and Head, Northern Region, Avnash Industries, spoke on the challenges of milling rice in Ghana saying that “the local paddy (raw material) prices are too expensive, as the yields per acre achieved by the farmers, generally, in Ghana, is as low as 800 Kg/acre, compared to a minimum of 2.4 MT/acre internationally in Thailand, Vietnam, India, USA, Pakistan, etc. The local rice price is, as a result, uncompetitive in comparison with imported rice.”
Akshay Sharma supported the “One village - One Dam” proposal because of the potential of irrigation in raising even higher, the yields of the local rice farmer.
The Executive Director of SHINKAAFA, Samuel Sarpong, spoke about how SHINKAAFA had strengthened the rice sector by engagement at community level. He said the partnership with DALEX was part of their mission to develop sustainable models for finance to assist the small-holder farmer.
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 receive their payments through mobile money and then can make deposits into their investment accounts. They have real-time access to their account balances while SWIFT provides call center support in Dagbani.
Also present at the function were Aba Amissah Quainoo, Executive Director of MEL Consulting Ltd; Lucy Quainoo, General Manager of MEL Consulting Ltd and Dr Victor Antwi, Deputy Chief of Party, FinGAP, USAID.
Dalex Finance deals in products such as Fixed Deposit Accounts (FDA); SWIFT, a contributory investment solely delivered through the mobile phone; the Turbo Advance, a short term loan for the private sector solely delivered through the mobile phone; SNAP, salary loans primarily for public workers and business loans for small and medium enterprises.
DALEX won the Ghana Economic Forum Business of the Year in 2016.