By Fatoumatta K. Jallow
Discussion on innovation in agricultural financing was organized by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), in partnership with The Gambia Commercial Agriculture and Value Chain Management (GCAV) project, on Tuesday 2016, at the Kerr Jula conference room in Bijilo.
Madame Sarata Conateh, Director of Business Development, GCCI, in her welcoming remarks, said it is known that the farmers are facing a lot of challenges, namely the lack of agricultural banks or access to financial institution, low educational level and subsistence farming, among others.
She said this is why it is always good to dialogue in a bid to engage and inform them on the issues affecting them.
Mr. Mbye Jabang, GCAV Project Coordinator, in his statement, said as far as the agricultural sector is concerned, the lack of agricultural financing is really posing a challenge. He said the Jahally Pacharr rice farmers are being affected by the lack of agricultural financing thus leaving the country to be importing rice which could be produced here.
“The NEMA project has a capital stimulation project fund and is not working well in banking. Unless we address these issues, we are just throwing money down the drain,” said the GCAV Project Coordinator.
Dr. Seeku A. K. Jaabi, Deputy Director, Central Bank of The Gambia, in his presentation on the Regulatory and Policy Support to Innovative Agricultural Financing, said agriculture is the food basket and employs the majority of workers with vast income and export potentials.
He said this is the future, adding that its financing is crucial for Government and that Central Bank’s position is for banks to lend to agriculture and SMEs. He cited Nigeria, Mexico and Columbia as having such incentive schemes.
Dr. Jaabi also talked about the challenges to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) finance, noting that the lack of finance crucially affects the speed and pattern of economic development.
“In LDCs, the following are important: Asymmetric information & moral hazard Size and age, ownership – domestic & foreign Collateral and collateral substitute (Microfinance), Judicial effectiveness and Business environment,” said the Central Bank official.