- Access Bank has unveiled its Agriculture Desk, an initiative to bolster agricultural enterprises
- The unit will provide financial and advisory services to participants within the Agribusiness value chain.
- Access Bank's initiative follows several policies of the CBN, which has aided Nigerian farmers
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Access Bank Plc, a prominent Nigerian financial institution operating across more than 19 nations, has bolstered its Agriculture Desk to deliver enhanced value to its customers and a broader spectrum of stakeholders.
The bank's initiatives come on the backdrop of the Central Bank Nigeria's effort at recovering loans disbursed to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The tier-1 bank stated that this strategic initiative is designed to promote sustainable agricultural enterprises and draw international investments.
This announcement was made at the bank's Lagos headquarters on Tuesday during the unveiling of two new business divisions: the Agric Business Desk and the Development Banking Desk.
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According to Leadership, this development positions the bank as a leader in Nigeria's agricultural financing sector, aligning with the Central Bank of Nigeria's directives for banks to serve and support agri-businesses.
The Agriculture Desk functions as a specialized unit within the bank, dedicated to providing financial and advisory services to potential and established participants within the Agribusiness value chain.
Catalyst to transform the agricultural sector
According to a statement released by the bank, Hadiza Ambursa, the Executive Director of Commercial Banking, the Agriculture Desk goes beyond mere financing. Its primary focus is on catalyzing transformative changes within the agricultural sector.
The Agriculture Desk’s impressive track record has been built on partnerships with key stakeholders, including government agencies, international organisations, and industry associations. This collaborative approach has reinforced our reputation as a reliable growth driver in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
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Ambursa stated that Access Bank has made a significant, positive contribution to the nation's attainment of self-sustained food security.
She said that the bank has invested over N200 billion in agribusiness, benefiting more than 10,000 entities encompassing Small Holder Farms (SHFs), Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), organized farmer associations/cooperatives, and corporate entities, all financed through a range of the bank's products and government schemes.
The support for these projects has had impacts such as increased food security, job creation, growth in customers’ businesses and increased revenue.
It's important to highlight that since 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has allocated a substantial sum of N1.07 trillion to support more than 4.6 smallholder farmers engaged in the cultivation or rearing of 21 different commodities across the nation through its Anchor Borrowers' Programme (ABP).
This information was shared in the CBN's communication outlined in communiqué number 146 from the Monetary Policy Committee meeting held on January 23rd and 24th, 2023, in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria.
CBN to arrest, lock up farmers for failure to repay loans
Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that the CBN had stated its intention to engage the Nigerian police in apprehending farmers who have not fulfilled their loan repayment obligations under the ABP.
The apex bank emphasized that it would no longer condone the misconception among some farmers who regard the funds from the program as a gift.
It has expressed its determination to take legal action, including arresting and imprisoning defaulters until they fulfill their loan repayment commitments.
Despite numerous farmers' participation, the CBN also highlighted that loan default instances were particularly prevalent among rice farmers.