GHANA - The Agence Francaise de Development (afd) and the Agricultural Development Bank (adb) have signed a €17.7million financial agreement for implementing phase-five of the rubber outgrower plantation project.
The amount is a concessional loan to the adb as financial operator of the rubber plantation project.
Phase-five of the project will see the cultivation of 8,000 hectares by rubber out-grower farmers in over 400 communities of 33 districts across three regions in the country.
Mr. Francois Pujolas, French Ambassador to Ghana, at the ceremony said release of the funding for the fifth phase is an indication that rubber production is growing, thereby justifying why the afd and adb have over the years supported the venture.
He said by 2017 over 8,500 rubber farmers will have benefitted from the facility, and around 30,000 hectares of rubber would have been planted.
Mr. Pujolas commended the adb for contributing to successfully developing rubber plantations during the last 20 years.
He also commended the farmers and rubber out-grower association for the professionalism exhibited over the years toward the project’s success.
Mr. Stephen Kpordzih, Managing Director of adb, said provision of the money will help to step up growing rubber in the country.
He said although the increasing rate of loan defaulting is becoming a major challenge to the project, adb will work hard to ensure things are done responsibly to ensure the programme’s success.
Mrs. Amelie July, afd Resident Manager in Ghana, thanked the adb and other partners for sustaining the collaboration for the past 20 years and assured that they will continue to partner with government to achieve development goals.
In 1995, the government of Ghana obtained a credit facility from afd and the World Bank for financing tree crops like rubber and oil palm under the "Programme for the promotion of perennial crops in Ghana".
Since then, five different phases of rubber and two different phases of oil palm cultivation by out-growers have been implemented.