JSS  Vol.3 No.1 , January 2015
Microcredit Schemes: A Tool for Promoting Rural Savings Capacity among Poor Farm Families: A Case Study in the Eastern Region of Ghana
ABSTRACT
Savings mobilization is crucial for any viable economic and investment activity. In rural agricul-ture, the ability to save or to mobilize capital in cash at bank or stock of wealth is a major prerequisite as the collateral for accessing bank loans. The ability to save among rural poor households is however, difficult due to their low income levels and inability to make personal savings commitment. According to Yunus (2000) [1], failure of traditional financial institutions to extend credit to the poor is the single most important reason for the perpetuation of poverty. Nevertheless, since the early 1980s, microfinance scheme has been identified as a useful tool that can effectively mobilise savings among poor households. Yunus (2003) [2] indicated that micro-credit schemes have developed unique characteristics in terms of unconventional approaches, organizational and lending procedures that have resulted in high rates of repayments, savings mobilization and the ability to nurture a culture of commitment and self-reliance of poor people. The objective of this study was to assess the role microfinance plays in savings mobilization among farm households, analyse the extent of savings mobilized by participants and evaluate the conditions for membership of such schemes. A total of 212 respondents in organised cocoa farmer Associations since 2010 in the Eastern region were interviewed using formal questionnaires. The results indicated that the microfinance model had helped the respondents, mainly small-scale cocoa farmers, to mobilize substantial savings in a convenient and tailor made way. The majority who did not have any savings culture before joining the schemes were surprised about their savings potential through the group concept. Also, the schemes allayed the fear of the participants to take credit from financial institutions with high (over 95%) repayment culture using peer support, group guarantee and social capital generated through the formation of associations. They also had easy access to farm inputs such as fertilizer to maintain their cocoa farms because of their savings mobilization. It is concluded that microfinance model is a potential tool that promotes savings culture which gives access to credit for small-scale cocoa farmers to purchase farm inputs to increase productivity and enhance their livelihood.

Cite this paper
Asamoah, M. and Amoah, F. (2015) Microcredit Schemes: A Tool for Promoting Rural Savings Capacity among Poor Farm Families: A Case Study in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 3, 24-30. doi: 10.4236/jss.2015.31003.
References
[1]   Yunus (2000) How Donor Funds Could Better Reach and Support Grassroots Microcredit Programmes. Working towards the Microcredit Summit’s Goal and Core Themes. The Bangladesh Development Studies, 26, 1-13.

[2]   Yunus, M. (2003) Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty. Public Affairs, New York.

[3]   Asamoah, M., Ansah, F.O., Anchirinah, V., Aneani, F. and Agyapong, D. (2013) Insight into the Standard of Living of Ghanaian Cocoa Farmers. Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 3, 363-370.

[4]   IFAD Ghana (2000) Pre-Appraisal Mission. Working Paper: “Re-Packing the Rural Finance Sub-Sector in Ghana Poverty, Gender and Rural Informal Sector Perspectives”.
http://ifad.org/gender/learning/sector/finance/42.htp

[5]   Asamoah Mercy (2007) Microcredit Schemes and Women’s Empowerment. Doctor of Philosophy Thesis, University of Ghana, Legon.

[6]   Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) (2010) A Source Book for Sustainable Cocoa Production.

 
 
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