Ecobank Ghana, last Friday, donated four corn dehuskers valued at $50,000 to four aggregators of Sunyani-based agro-processing company, Yedent Agro Group of Companies, to assist them to properly dehusk maize sold to the company for processing.
In addition, the bank presented an articulated truck, which was acquired from a $105,000 loan it provided to one of the aggregators of Yedent, Kenneth Oppong Enterprise, for the carting of maize and other cereals purchased from the farm gates to the doorstep of the company.
Yedent Agro Group of Companies is a wholly Ghanaian-owned limited liability company founded in 2004 and has two subsidiaries, namely Yedent Agro Foods Processing Company Limited and Yedent Bulk Processing Company Limited.
The company’s core activities spread along the entire cereal and legumes – maize, soya and millet value chain and thus supports farmers in the Northern, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions, as well as those in the Afram Plains area.
Addressing the presentation ceremony, the Technical Advisor to the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Asante Krobea, said through the implementation of the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme, Ghana had increased its production of maize from 1.7 metric tonnes in 2016 to 3.0 metric tonnes in 2020.
“We need to have about 20 companies such as Yedent to ensure that what we produce in the country is processed to enable our farmers to reap from the toil and sweat of their blood,” he stated and commended Ecobank Ghana for supporting agro processing businesses in the country.
Mr Krobea disclosed that the government had decided to absorb half of the interest on loans provided to aggregators by banks, to enable them to have the necessary machinery and funds to purchase and cart farm produce to agro processors.
Agricultural value chain
For his part, the Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, Mr Daniel Sackey, said the bank was committed to support the entire agricultural value chain, since it had a direct impact on the livelihoods of the people, particularly farmers.
He added that the establishment of agro-processing companies would reduce post-harvest losses, which currently stood at 14 per cent.
Mr Sackey said the dehuskers would support a total of 6,000 outgrower and smallholder farmers with 60 per cent of them being women in 83 different communities of the regions where Yedent obtained its raw materials.
“We need to find a better way of making the agricultural value chain simple. Instead of dehusking maize with your hand which takes a lot of time, the dehuskers would enable the farmers to use few minutes to do so and provide them enough time for other economic activities,” he stated.
The Managing Director of Yedent Group of Companies, Mr Samuel Kwame Ntim, disclosed that the company processed a total of 300,000 mini bags of maize a year, which translated into 1,200 bags per day.
For her part, the Bono Regional Minister, Ms Justina Owusu-Banahene, said the government would continue to partner the private sector to continue to support the growth of the economy.