Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has distributed over N100 billion in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) initiative in order to strengthen agricultural sector which includes small, medium and large-scale enterprise in the agricultural value chain.
This was disclosed recently by the Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, at the bank’s 2019 Agric Expo tagged: ‘Agricultural Value Chain: Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Risks,’ held in Lagos.
It was further explained that, CACS is a Central Bank of Nigeria development finance initiative that was designed to provide long tenured credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at single digit interest rate.
Adeduntan, said the bank also supported 118 projects, representing over 23 per cent out of a total of 509 projects supported by all banks in the country. And the projects spread across input supplies, primary production, processing and marketing.
He noted that, “We are also supporting research and development through the endowment of professorial chairs in agriculture in some Nigerian universities.”
Adeduntan stated that, “We have also provided infrastructure to support learning and development in Agriculture associated fields in Nigerian universities.”
The First Bank CEO, further explained that the bank was also collaborating with states in the CBN’s Accelerated Development Agric Development Scheme (AADS).
According to him, “the bank in partnership with public sector institutions had supported several state governments on Agricultural Development Trust Fund Scheme.”
He explained 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 collaterals.
“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.
“Agricultural financing has been and still is a core part of our business in FirstBank today. “The bank commenced operations with a major strategy focus on financing agriculture development as well as enabling farmers and agribusiness.
“At FirstBank, we appreciate the imperatives of the extensive agricultural value chain; the position of the agricultural sector as a major contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Extensive agricultural value chain would generate foreign exchange earnings, employment and importantly substitution and as well would eradicate hunger and poverty.
“The bank has a large base of small and medium scale enterprises and corporate agri-business clients across Nigeria operating in all segments of the agricultural value chain. The value chain covers primary production, storage, processing, packaging and agro export.” He added.