The Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding project (PG-HGSF) is pleased to present its fourth learning case: Linking school feeding caterers to finance: Loan opportunities enabling caterer purchases from smallholder farmers.

Over 1.7 million children in Ghana are fed through the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) and this would not be possible without the key role of caterers that ensure that Ghana’s schoolchildren receive one nutritious, hot meal a day at school. In all regions of Ghana, caterers face difficulties purchasing food for school meals due to late and irregular payments for their services from the Government of Ghana. Late payments for caterer services not only negatively affect caterers, but delayed payments also affect their buying choices – instead of buying from smallholder farmers and farmer-based organisations (FBOs) that need to be paid in cash upon the delivery of their goods, caterers often choose to buy from traders that provide products on credit.

In order to address late and irregular payments, SNV’s Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding Project (PG-HGSF) piloted a loan facility intervention in five northern districts in conjunction with a local rural bank. The objective of the intervention was to aid caterers through times of delayed payments and to encourage them to purchase goods from local smallholder farmers. The case study 'Learning Case #4, Linking Caterers to Finance in Ghana' illustrates the loan facility piloted with Bonzali Rural Bank in the Tamale municipality and the districts of Tolon, Kumbugu, Sagnarigu and Karaga in Ghana’s Northern Region and presents lessons learned in its implementation.