Agricultural financing has been and still is a core part of our business in first bank today.L-R: Emmanuel Ijewere, representing Alh. Sani Dangote, Group Vice President, Dangote Industries Limited; Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Sabo Nanono, Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Nigeria) and Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Uche Nwankwo, representing Wilma Aguele, MD, Wilbahi Investments Limited and Abdullahi Ibrahim, Executive Director, Public Sector Group, First Bank of Nigeria Limited at the third annual FirstBank Agric Expo held at the Eko Hotel & Suites, last Friday, 30 August 2019.
The firstbank of Nigeria limited, Chief Executive, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said in his welcome address at the First Bank Agric Expo that agricultural financing has been and still is a core part of our business in first bank today adding that It is worthy of note that we commenced operations with a major strategic focus on financing agriculture development as well as enabling farmers and agrobusinesses. We are therefore celebrating 125 years of supporting agriculture and agribusiness development in Nigeria, he added.
The third edition of FirstBank Agric Expo was held on Friday, August 30, 2019 at Eko Hotel in Lagos
At firstbank, Adeduntan noted that 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 Products(GDP), significance in generating FOREX earnings, employment and import substitution and its ability to eradicate hunger and poverty. According to him, we have a large base of SME and corporate agribusiness clients across Nigeria operating in all segments of the agricultural value chain-covering primary production, storage, processing, packaging and export. He also said that we can proudly say we’re providing services across the value chain of the agricultural industry. In partnership with public sector institutions, Adeduntan affirmed that First Bank has supported several state governments on Agricultural Development Trust Fund Scheme (ADTFS), an imitative designed to provide credit facilities to small scale farmers who would otherwise be constrained by the lack of collateral.
“We are partnering with a good number of states on the central bank of Nigeria’s Accelerated Development Agric Development Scheme (AADS). Notably, we have disbursed more than forty billion Naira under the CBN’s Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS). Our team of dedicated agricultural professionals specializing in various fields of agriculture are strategically located in our branches nationwide wide to identify and support agricultural enterprises covering the entire geographical regions of the country with a suite of sector and customer friendly agricultural financing solutions tailored towards the Bank’ support to the sector.
“Under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), the FGN/CBN initiative designed to provide long tenured credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at single digit interest rate, it would interest you to know that first bank has supported 118 projects (over 23) out of a total of 509projects supported by all the bank’s put together, and disbursed over one hundred billion naira (N100billion), under the initiative. The projects spread across input supplies, primary production, processing and marketing. Obligors include small, medium and large-scale enterprise in the agricultural value chain. We’re also supporting research and development through the endowment of professional chairs in agriculture in some Nigerian universities.
“We have also provided infrastructure to support learning and development in agriculture and associated fields in Nigerian universities.”
The FBN Boss revealed that this year also witness remarkable increase in the requests for exhibition spaces, a testament to the fact that the federal government’s deliberate policies on national agricultural regeneration are working effectively. The various trade groups and media practitioners in the agribusiness sector provided enormous insight during the sectoral focus group consultations for planning this year’s Expo, for which we are most grateful.
“In the past three years of this Expo series, we have received tremendous interest and support from the public sector at both the state and federal government levels. This is today evidenced by the notable number of state and federal government representation at this forum. I am elated at the growing public and private sector partnership that has characterized this venture and the agricultural sector in general.