Dreadful effects of micro finance in the Ghanaian farming sector.
Agriculture has been the job an occupation of most people living south of Sahara desert including Ghana. Farmers produced so much that a bag of maize is sold as low as $12 during the harvesting seasons in Techiman market. The leading food market in Ghana.
When a particular microfinance, DKM Diamond microfinance limited came out with it three moons investment plan in late 2005, many farmers were attracted to invest heavy sums to earn 50% interest in three months. Many farmers went into the investment to the detriment of their farms. Farmers who could spend $900 on their farms a season decided to take that amount to DKM and cultivate a little for consumption. Unfortunately for them, by August 2015 last year they invested more with DKM and the returns were not coming since Bank of Ghana place an embargo on DKM’s activities on the 12th of May 2015. Because it was running an unregistered business and it interest rates of 50% was higher than that set by Bank of Ghana which is 28% to 30% as May 2015 resulting to inflation in the economy.
As a result they (DKM) could not stand on it feeds and fulfill its promises as usual. Some angry customers sued DKM for their investments and the owner Mr. Delle Martins was remanded in October 2015 by Sunyani high court and transported to Accra. Farmers had to fall back to their farms late in the second rainy season which begins in July. As one cannot cheat nature, there is no enough rainfall this season to enable the crops grow. Evidence is cashew farms are burn by bush fire in Bono Manso, Tano Boase, Tuobodom and around Techiman because farmers did not weed them last farming season.
One could bear with me that maize farms around Nkoranza Techiman Wenchi Goaso etc and their environs are having withered crops, especially maize, plantains
Upon my investigation I got to know that not only farmers are dying as a result of DKM’s activities. Well educated men and women of high working class chiefs, bankers, teachers nurses, self-employed, housewife are all crying out for help
Some unregistered institutions like DKM such as GOD IS LOVE, CASH 4 U, E.MAPA ETC have also contributed deeper wounds on the indigents same as DKM. These microfinance institutions were competing and luring customers with good incentives such as cars phones etc enabling them to bring in more money. Some individuals with grid and pride sold their cars, plots, lands, took loans and invested, hoping they will reap the benefits and stop farming totally.
They are now crying since all these financial institutions cannot pay back their invested capital nor their profit. Now the banks are hitting at the doors of their customers who borrowed for investment.
The shocking issue is that all these financial institutions originated from one region Bono Ahafo (Sunyani) and extend their branches into the northern part and few in other areas of the country (Ghana). If care is not taken hunger and poverty will hit these parts or the country because they are the food basket of Ghana.
DKM’s customers Demonstrated in Tamale, Berekum and Sunyani demanding for investigations into the activities of all the workers on 3rd December 2015. Since then the Bank of Ghana has stepped in to shot down these institutions auctioning their properties and trying to pay off customers. That is still on course.
Writer N.P. Shiyntum