Kintampo Rural Bank Limited in the Brong Ahafo Region says it will double financial resources channeled to the agriculture sector as its core investment avenue in the 2014 fiscal year, in addition to other segments of the local economy such as SMEs, transport and retailing.

?Agriculture, especially yam and cereal production, is the main and most high-profile economic activity in the operational area of the bank; Kintampo, Techiman, Jema — all in Brong Ahafo — and Bupie in the Central Gonja District of the Northern Region, hence the bank targetting the sector,? Martin Mensah, General Manager, told the B&FT in an interview.

He said though agricultural investment remains a risky venture in the country, the situation in the bank?s operational jurisdiction has proved positive in recent years; therefore whetting their investment appetite.

?Last year, the Bank injected GH?300,000 into yam production yielding a recovery rate of 100% and for that matter, we plan to double it this year to GH?600,000. The Bank will be supporting creditworthy farmers through their buyers. This time round, the bank is in talks with some Insurance companies to cover the farmers because of irregular climatic pattern which could affect their production,? he explained.

Mr. Mensah further mentioned rice cultivation as another promising commercial crop production in the transitional zone of the country. But he acknowledged reliable source of credit to the farmers as the obvious and major challenge suppressing the sector from harnessing its full potential.

He said: ?The bank in collaboration with Ghana Agricultural Development & Value Chain Enhancement Programme (ADVANCE), an NGO, assisted some small-holder rice farmers with GH?100,000 as an experimental move and the recovery rate was huge, thereby making the sector a fertile avenue worth investing in. On that score, we have decided to give premium to rice production this year by increasing our loan portfolio to that area?.  

The Manager emphasised that salaried workers? advances will continue to be the bank?s major thrust in the next twelve (12) months in spite of its commitment to the agriculture sector. The bank?s salary advances increased significantly by 94% to peg at GH?3.05million in 2012, as against credit support to commercial and agricultural activities which went up by12.1% to reach GH?2.79million within the same period.

?This is one avenue the bank has competitive advantage in, and this year we intend to focus more in that area — particularly in Techiman where we continue to thrive. We also plan to introduce more innovations to diversify as well as enhance our operations this year in order to boost our deposit.

?The bank will soon introduce new products to add-on to the traditional rural banking products, and one of such products is Drive and own. This product will allow customers to save about one-third the cost of a vehicle, after which the bank will buy for the customer who will be given a stipulated time to reimburse the full cost,? he revealed.

Kintampo Rural Bank rated number-one among the 20 RCBs in the Brong Ahafo Region and 10th in the country as at December 31st, 2012, had a total share capital of GH?316,186. But the General Manager says the estimated share capital as at the end of 2013 stands at over GH?500,000.

He stated that the bank will continue to hold on to innovations and excellence, quickly adapting to the changing needs to remain in the forefront — adding that the 2014 set target in all performance indicators is between 30-50% in the wave of imminent operational challenges.

By Edward Adjei Frimpong, Kintampo


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