Posted: May 19, 2017

Palladium Making Strategic Financing Work for Agriculture

On May 4, 2017, Palladium’s USAID Financing Ghanaian Agriculture (USAID FinGAP) hosted its 4th annual Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit in Accra, the theme of which is “Making Strategic Financing Work for Agriculture.” An estimated 300 members of the country’s agribusiness, transaction advisory, financial institution and investment elite were in attendance, along with representatives of the US and Ghanaian governments, donor community, and international investors. 

USAID FinGAP is a US $22M investment platform managed by Palladium on behalf of USAID Ghana.  The goal of USAID FinGAP is to channel financing and investment to maize, rice and soy small, medium and large enterprises in Ghana’s northern regions, to reduce poverty and ensure that Ghana can be more food secure.  USAID FinGAP is financed by the US government through USAID, the Feed the Future Initiative, and the US-Ghana Partnership for Growth Initiative.

Through this investment platform, USAID FinGAP has assisted more than 1,700 Ghanaian agribusiness firms, approximately 40% of which are run by women, to access more than US $117 million in private capital from more than three dozen Ghanaian-based financial institutions, impact and equity investors.  These results were achieved in under three years of operation.  The agribusiness firms supported by USAID FinGAP all work in different aspects of the staple foods value chains, and are strengthening the country’s ability to achieve food security by putting smallholder farmers to work.

Each year, USAID FinGAP unveils “best bets” for agribusiness investment in Ghana at the agribusiness investment summit. These are organized into deal profiles for agribusiness firms targeting investors.  This year, USAID FinGAP presented 33 small, medium and large enterprises seeking investment valued from $200,000 to $10M in debt and equity.  The Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit provides updates on project progress, but mostly facilitates networking and meetings among businesses and interested investors courting them, leading to new financing deals.

Hon. George Boahene Oduro, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture delivering the keynote address at the 2017 Agribusiness Summit

Increased financing and investment to firms and farmers over the last few years has led to concrete impact, both economically and socially.  As per an impact assessment conducted by the project in 2016, increased financing and investment facilitated has led to a doubling of revenue and profit among small, medium and large enterprises, as well as improved profits for smallholder farmers.  Financing also led to a doubling of full-time employment for the maize and rice sectors.  In aggregate terms, USAID-FinGAP put 175,000 people to work to assist in planting and harvesting new crops, on an additional 150,000 acres of land.

Hon. George Boahene Oduro, Deputy Minister of Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Melinda Tabler-Stone, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy Accra, presided over the opening of the Agribusiness  Investment Summit.  The Deputy Minster commended USAID and Palladium for its success in extending finance to its farmers at a scale never achieved before in Ghana, saying, “The Impact that FinGAP has had on businesses is there for everyone to see…we have seen how the lives of the farmers involved in this project have changed tremendously.  I commend USAID for this tremendous support, which should continue…please extend this program.”   Also at this Summit, Palladium showcased

Melinda Tabler-Stone Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy Accra (right) Steve Hendrix, Deputy Mission Director of USAID (middle) and Rick Dvorin, Chief of Party, USAID FinGAP at 2017 Agribusiness Summit

strategic partnerships it has facilitated with businesses to improve agricultural yields, as well as agricultural sales.  One such partnership profiled was with U.S. mechanization giant John Deere, which, through its partnership with Sinapi Aba Trust, has helped more than 8,000 farmers access mechanized farming for the first time, while increasing sales of John Deere products in Ghana by 20%.

This year’s summit was sponsored by USAID, and co-sponsored by Barclays Bank, Ecobank, First Allied Savings and Loans, the Ghana Agricultural Insurance Pool, John Deere and UT bank.

For Palladium, the Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project exemplifies Positive Impact by taking donor resources and leveraging them many times over to mobilize private capital towards underserved markets, firms and smallholder farmers.  USAID FinGAP is one of the US government’s most successful projects investing finance and investment towards agribusiness, and was the runner up to Palladium’s Chairman’s award in 2016, an honor extended by the Palladium Board of Directors to the firm’s most impactful development programs.

For more information, and for a copy of the 2017 Agribusiness Investment Opportunity Booklet, please contact Richard Dvorin, Chief of Party of the USAID FinGAP project, or Project Director Amanda Fernandez, or visit the project’s investment portal at: www.agrifinanceghana.org