Access to Rural Bank Credit in Ghana: The Case of Women Farmers in the Upper East Region of Ghana
Credit is an effective tool that can be used to turn life around for a person, a family or transform self-image, unlock potential and boost the productivity and well-being of the poor. This paper examines the extent of women farmers’ access to credit from Rural Banks (RBs) in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Data were collected from randomly sampled 200 women farmers from four districts and from the archives of the RBs in the region. Semi-structured questionnaire, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were used for data collection. Growth rates of credit supplies and factors influencing women farmers’ credit access were estimated. The results of the empirical study revealed that the growth rate of credit supply by the RBs from 1998 to 2007 was about 18 percent per annum. Besides, credit supply to women grew at a lesser rate (18%) than that of men (19%) during the period. Factors influencing women farmers’ extent of credit access were found to be age, interest rates, farm size, association membership and formal education, among others. Hence, it is recommended that credit supply to women should be improved if the MDGs, particularly those on poverty and hunger reduction as well as gender equality and empowerment are to be attained.
Key Words: Credit, Rural Banks, Supply Growth Rate, Poverty Reduction, Women Farmers