First Bank of Nigeria Limited has disbursed over N100 billion under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) initiative introduced to strengthen agricultural value chain.
Dr Adesola Adeduntan, First Bank Chief Executive Officer, disclosed this at the bank’s 2019 Agric Expo tagged “Agricultural Value Chain: Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Risks’’ in Lagos.
CACS is the Federal Government initiative designed to provide long tenured credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at single digit interest rate.
Adeduntan said obligors include small, medium and large-scale enterprise in the agricultural value chain.
He said the bank also supported 118 projects representing more than 23 per cent out of a total of 509 projects supported by all the banks put together.
The bank chief noted that the projects spread across input supplies, primary production, processing and marketing.
“We are also supporting research and development through the endowment of professorial chairs in Agriculture in some Nigerian universities.
“We have also provided infrastructure to support learning and development in Agriculture associated fields in Nigerian universities,’’ Adeduntan said.
He said that the bank was also partnering with a good number of states on the apex bank’s Accelerated Agric Development Scheme (AADS).
“Notably, we have disbursed more than N40 billion under the CBN’s Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS),’’ he added.
According to him, the bank, in partnership with public sector institutions, has supported several state governments on Agricultural Development Trust Fund Scheme.
He said that Agricultural Development Trust Fund Scheme was designed to provide credit facilities to small scale farmers who would otherwise be constrained by the lack of collateral.
Adeduntan said the bank had received tremendous interest and support from the public sector at both the state and federal government levels in the past three years of the agric expo.
Speaking on the bank’s committed interest in agricultural sector, he said that “agricultural financing has been and still is a core part of our business in First Bank today.’’
The chief executive officer said that the bank commenced operations with major strategies, focus on financing agriculture development as well as enabling farmers and agribusiness.
“The First Bank, we appreciate the imperatives of the extensive agricultural value chain; the position of the agricultural sector as a major contributor to the nation’s GDP,’’ Adeduntan said.
He said that extensive agricultural value chain would generate foreign exchange earnings, employment and importantly substitution, and as well would eradicate hunger and poverty.
Adeduntan said the bank has a large base of Small and Medium Enterprises and corporate agribusiness clients across Nigeria operating in all segments of the agricultural value chain.
The value chain, according to him, covers primary production, storage, processing, packaging and agro export.