Access Bank, a leading Nigerian financial institution, has bolstered its Agriculture Desk in a strategic move to promote sustainable agricultural enterprises and attract international investments. The enhancement was announced at the bank's Lagos headquarters on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, during the unveiling of two new business divisions: the Agric Business Desk and the Development Banking Desk.
The Agriculture Desk, a specialized unit within the bank, is tasked with offering financial and advisory services to both potential and existing players in the agribusiness value chain. The aim is to actualize the 'From Farm to Table' policy thrust of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which aligns with Access Bank's vision of contributing to the country's achievement of sustainable food security.
Hadiza Ambursa, Executive Director, Commercial Banking at Access Bank, emphasized that the Agriculture Desk's role goes beyond mere financing. It aims to drive transformational change within the agricultural landscape through capacity building, technology adoption, and market access for clients.
This initiative aligns with several policies of the CBN, including efforts to recover loans disbursed to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP). Since 2015, CBN has allocated NGN 1.07 trillion ($2.61 billion) to support more than 4.6 million smallholder farmers engaged in 21 different commodities across Nigeria through its ABP.
Access Bank's Agriculture Desk also provides tailored financial solutions that address unique challenges faced by farmers and other stakeholders in the value chain. These include market linkages to support sales, capacity building with a special focus on Women and Youth, stakeholders' engagement, project monitoring and reporting.
Ambursa stated that Access Bank has invested over NGN 200 billion ($488 million) in agribusiness, benefiting more than 10,000 entities including 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.
This strategic initiative puts Access Bank at the forefront of Nigeria's agricultural financing market segment, in line with the CBN's directive to banks to serve and support agribusinesses. It also aims to bridge the funding gap in Nigeria's agricultural sector by promoting agribusiness activities through sustainable lending while providing innovative solutions for the markets and communities the bank serves.
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