Ebenezer Laryea addressing some cocoa farmers at the recent forum
OPPORTUNITY INTERNATIONAL Savings and Loans (OISL) disbursed a total of GH¢42 million to farmers in Ghana with GH¢24 million going to cocoa farmers alone during this year’s crop season.
This formed part of the company’s corporate mission to transform the lives of smallholder farmers through its agriculture finance programme.
Ebenezer Laryea, Head of the Agricultural Finance for Opportunity International Savings and Loans, in an address, said the agricultural programme, which started in 2010, has cumulatively disbursed loans amounting to GH¢190 million to 161,000 smallholder farmers and SMEs in the agriculture value chains.
He said the rationale behind the farmers’ forum was to engage with farmers to solicit their feedback on OISL’s partnership and support for them and also to train them on the use of the digital mobile banking as an alternative means to their financial services.
A total of 830 cocoa farmers from Bogoso, Mankessim, Akim Oda, Nkawkaw, Koforidua and Bekwai benefited from the forum.
The farmers were taken through the use of the ‘Opportunity mobile platform’ – a USSD mobile platform that allows financial transactions on mobile phones on how to make loan repayments, savings, check account balances, transfer money from farmers’ accounts to wallet with the benefit of saving them the risk, time and money.
Mr Laryea urged the farmers to inculcate the habit of repaying their loans on time so that the institution could sustain its lending programmes to them.
Sakina Mandanda, the Africa Regional Acting Finance Risk Advisor of Opportunity International, also encouraged the farmers to see farming as a business so they could plough back the income into the business for further growth.
She said OISL has given out over 700 phones to farmers as part of its campaign to promote the use of digital financial services.
Women farmers who participated actively during the sessions were presented with free mobile phones as a way to encourage women participation and adoption on the digital services.
The clients, on their part, were full of gratitude to OISL for the immense contribution towards the growth of their businesses through the provision of loans and financial services supported by training in financial literacy and good agricultural practices.
Opportunity International Savings and Loans Ltd (OISL) is a leading savings and loans company in Ghana. OISL is at the forefront of delivering transformational ?nancial services to help transform the lives of clients. It was licensed by the Bank of Ghana in June 2004.