"EDAIF PLANS TO EXPAND ACTIVITY IN B/A - Samuel Duodu"
The Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) now the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) has decided to scale up its activities in the Brong Ahafo Region to enable both potential and existing exporters to easily access the various facilities and services under the fund.
The Fund which is yet to be decentralized said it was doing everything possible to bring its services closer to the regions, more especially the Brong Ahafo region, which has a comparative advantage in agriculture.
Until recently, the Fund has two main facilities namely: the Export Development & Promotion (EDP) and the Credit Facility (CF). The recent amendment of the Act that established the Fund has included Agriculture. This covers agriculture investments, agro-processing and agriculture related activities being the major focus.
Mr. Emmanuel Essilfie-Conduah, the Public Relations and Marketing Manager of the EDAIF said this during an interaction with newsmen at the Fund’s stand at the Brong Ahafo Regional Policy Fair in Sunyani.
He added that “the Board and Management of the Fund in collaboration with other stakeholders are working around the clock to outline the modalities and any other procedures to enable one to access the agriculture component of the Fund towards the fulfillment of its objectives”.
He therefore assured the general public especially exporters that as soon as the process is completed the Fund will use all the available means to inform and educate them.
The EDP facility supports activities of groups and institutions in the development and promotion of export products and provision of services to the export sector while the Credit Facility is a concessionary loan that can be accessed by individuals, corporate exporters and producers of export goods through Designated Financial Institutions (DFIs).
He said the decision of the Fund to participate in the Policy Fair was to sensitize people living in the region about EDAIF’s plan to make the Savanna zone as mango hub of the country, of which Brong Ahafo region is part.
Mr. Essilfie-Conduah added that it was also to make EDAIF more visible to enable people patronize the facilities in order to increase foreign earnings for the region and the country as a whole.
He said the Fund has been able to support some groups and institutions in the Brong Ahafo region to expand their businesses and capacities to enable them compete and meet the demands of the international market.
Mr. Essilfie-Conduah mentioned some of the beneficiary institutions in the region as the Ghana Nuts Company Limited at Techiman which was supported with the Credit facility to increase its capacity for the purchasing of peanuts, cowpeas, soybeans, sesame seeds and other agricultural products for export to the United Kingdom (UK), Japan and India, among other countries.
Again, he said the Fund had supported the Faculty of Agriculture of the Methodist University campus at Wenchi with a tractor and a Nissan pick-up and some farmer based organizations within the region.
On the issue of butternut squash, he said one out of four piloted project sites for the cultivation of the butternut squash in the country; Skye in the Nkoranza North districts of the Brong Ahafo region was successful. The Fund is in partnership with Designated Financial Institutions (DFIs) and other authorized Non-Banking Financial Institutions such as Export Finance Company (EFC) to provide financial support for all Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) products including butternut squash.
Butter Nut Squash, is a new variety of vegetable with high nutritious value introduced to farmers in the country through a collaboration between EDAIF and MWW, a United Kingdom (UK) based vegetable buyers for cultivation and export to Europe in Ghana.
The vegetable which cannot be eaten raw except cooked, baked or roasted is cultivated only in South Africa on the African continent, Brazil and some parts of Europe as a result of their weather conditions but can now be cultivated in commercial quantities in Ghana, particularly at Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region for export to the international market.
Responing to the question on “why EDAIF has no offices in the regions?” Mr. Essilfie-Conduah disclosed that “plans are underway to open the first regional office in Tamale, the Northern Regional Capital to enhance its operations especially there and that other regions would also be considered.