Adapting commercial finance structures to benefit Ghana's small-scale farmers

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Adapting commercial finance structures to benefit Ghana's small-scale farmers

Accra, GhanaJohannesburg, South Africa
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

This is an example of how the vision and intrapreneurial nature of a specialist agri-team in Standard Chartered Bank, can bring skills and sustainable benefits to 36,000 rural small-scale farmers in Ghana, and long term benefits for the broader communities in which they live.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Small-scale farming remains the most common form of subsistence living in rural Ghana. There is a desperate need for these small-holder farmers to gain access to basic finance, agricultural skills and inputs (good quality seed, fertilizer and tools) in order to improve the farmer’s growing potential, output and ability to manage the soil content sustainably. Chomba Sindazi and the Ghana Agriculture Team recognised the desperate need of the small scale farmer in Ghana, and given the positive benefits that the Bank’s structured input finance solution already brings to commercial clients (farmers and traders), chose to adapt and re-engineer the Bank’s commercial structures in order for the benefits to extend to the average small-scale farmer

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Through the appointment of a single ‘Nucleus Farmer’, who will serve as the ‘obligor’ to the structured loan and manage local small holder farmers on a ‘cooperative’ basis, no less than 36,000 small holder farmers will be able to gain the funds and skills to improve the quality of their crops, production outputs, and access to a fair and transparent price for their crops. The crops would include corn, cotton and cocoa.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The team has found a way to adapt the Bank’s commercial structured solution to extend commercial financing benefits to 36,000 small holder farmers in Ghana. Key aspects: (a)Appoint a single Nucleus Farmer as the 'Loan Obligor'. This single point of contact will manage the project and farmers, given the Bank lacks capacity to manage 36,000 small holder farmers. This Nucleus Farmer boasts extensive skills in crop cultivation, soil analysis, crop charting, fertilizer and seed application – all skills which will be transferred to each small holder farmer to ensure collective and sustainable crop cultivation. (b)Structure provides fair off-take price which takes into account market pricing, input and production costs. (c)The structured solution includes insurance cover against extreme weather and disease, protecting the individual farmers against external factors. This is a sophisticated benefit rarely available to small holder farmers. (d)The Nucleus Farmer signs production contracts with each small holder farmer to produce a prescribed quantity and quality of crop at a predetermined and agreed off-take price. The small-holder farmers all work in minimum groups of 6 – 8 and all guarantee each other’s production. Any deficit by one member of the group is covered up by the rest of the members of the group. It is therefore, imperative for the individual farmers to produce a crop to the expectation of others. Nuclues Farmers have 'officers' to visit farmers and transfer sills.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Another Bank and the local Agriculture Development Bank are attempting to compete in this area, The team’s adapted solution brings commercial finance benefits to individuals, who would ordinarily never have access to this level of support. Although Standard Chartered will hold a differentiated advantage over current competition with this facility, the Bank always welcomes further innovation and competition.

Founding Story

Africa is home to 60% of the world’s total uncultivated arable land. Currently, Africa only uses just 17% of its total arable land for farming and less than 14% of its irrigation potential, which means only 4% of the total farmed land is irrigated. Only 10% of cropped land is prepared by tractor, demonstrating the labour intensive nature of the region’s agri-sector. At least 56% of Africa’s population is involved in agriculture, with agriculture accounting for 70% of the labour force and over 25% of GDP in most countries. With these statistics in mind, the agri team was committed to leveraging the Bank's existing expertise and network to find innovative and effective ways of supporting the growth and development of Ghan's small-holder farmer.
About You
About You
First Name


Tell us about yourself/your team.

Zambian - studied in Zambia; South Africa and the UK and have more than 16 years of working experience in credit management, customers’ project evaluations and Structured Trade Finance, particularly in the Agricultural sector, across major economies in Africa. I am proud to be an intrepreneur within a corporate environment.The division I work for within Standard Chartered Bank – Commodity Traders & Agriculture or “CTA” within Transaction Banking – is responsible for developing structured financial products to meet the needs of the rapidly developing agricultural sector in Africa. For this particular project, I am honoured to work with an innovative, dynamic and efficient agri team, based in Accra, Ghana: Prince Wadie; Frimpomaa Ntiforo; Victor Asante and Benjamin Bright-Davis

What makes you an intrapreneur? What are the skills, capabilities, and personality traits that make you an intrapreneur?

Intrapreneurship means using your skills, to not only deliver on your career objectives, but support the collective growth of nations – in my case,my ambition is to leverage my skills in supporting Governments and Development Institutions formulate policies and strategies which will ensure Africa’s agricultural sector fulfills its potential in a sustainable manner. I have been fortunate to lend my support and experience to a number of agriculturally focused policy making and advisory bodies across Africa already – these include working with international research agencies to create credit mechanisms to enhance funding for agriculture (endorsed by European Commission), and helping to establish Africa’s first private investment fund, AgroAfrica.

About Your Organization
Company Country

, GT, Johannesburg

Primary country where this project is creating social impact

, GA, Accra

Additional countries or regions


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Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)

The Solution: Why is this solution innovative for your company and industry?

Chomba and the Bank’s Agri-Team have managed to find a solution which not only meets a large international Bank’s risk and commercial product appetite, but also has the ability to bring sophisticated and commercial, sustainable benefits to individual small-holder farmers in the rural areas of Ghana. Small-scale farmers rarely have access to such benefits.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

The increase in production in terms of yields per hectare and income of individual small-holder farmers will have a direct impact on the daily lives of the farmers’ families, and ultimately the community as a whole. For example, people will have food security, more buying power to build solid houses, send their children to school, increase access to transport and healthcare, and support local businesses.

What is your projected impact over the next 1 to 3 years?

By gaining access to the benefits of a structured commercial banking solution, these small-scale Ghanaian farmers are expected to increase their yield of cotton from an average of 1.2MT/Ha to about 2MT/Ha – DOUBLING their productivity and income! The area of land cultivated is expected to increase given the increased input and agricultural skills available, and some of the larger small-holder farmers will be promoted to medium-scale farmers.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Dramatic changes in government policy may impact the future of Ghana’s agricultural sector in general – for example, regulation of prices, import duties on inputs or the introduction of export taxes. The Bank continues to engage in regular dialogue with local and national Government to promote the implementation of sustainable agricultural policy which enables all industry participants to increase productivity and make a positive contribution to the economy at large.

What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?

Following the agri-teams ability to adapt an existing structure, Standard Chartered is likely to extend more than USD20 million in funding to provide quality inputs, insurance and skills training for the 36,000 small-holder farmers.

How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?

Chomba Sindazi and the Ghanaian agricultural team have been innovative and responsive in their commitment to leveraging the Bank’s existing product structures, expertise and network. Given the solution is already offered by the Bank on a commercial basis, the team has sought to adapt the Bank’s existing processes and structures to meet the Bank’s risk framework, while extending economically enhancing benefits to individual farmers, and ultimately the rural community, in Ghana.

Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.

The long term funding and support plan is to provide this structure on a sustainable basis, achieving the following in the long term:
(a)Migrate some small-holder farmers into medium scale and commercial farmers, who can ultimately operate independently, and not need the support of the Nucleus Farmer
(b)Increase and encourage the formulation of effective pricing for produce, within the structure.
(c)Promote the introduction of warehousing, which will ease the bottlenecks within the credit and funding delivery system

Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.

(a)Internal approval by the Bank’s Credit Sanctioning Authority
(b)Successful drafting of legal documentation to manage the security interests of all the stakeholders involved, eg. The Bank, The Small-Holder Farmers, The Nucleus Farmer etc.
(c)Effective coordination and collaboration of various stake holders i.e. government registries, Collateral Management companies, suppliers of various inputs including the Nucleus Farmer.

What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?

The Bank is excited and supportive of the Agri Team’s initiative and adapted concept, given the positive and sustainable impact this structure will have on Ghana’s small-holder farmers, and the broader benefits in terms of economic activity and skills development.