By Dipo Olowookere
Over 70,000 farmers in the country have been promised special loans to increase their capacity and yields during this planting season.
This pledge was made by Ecobank Nigeria, which restated its commitment to the agricultural sector to promote entrepreneurship in the sector.
The lender said this is in support of the Anchor Borrowers Programmes of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the 2020 wet season with the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN).
Ecobank has been actively leveraging entrepreneurship as a strategy to tackle poverty and growing unemployment, through the creation of relevant platforms.
One of such platforms is the Ecobank Xpress Point, the bank’s agency banking proposition which enables agents carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank and earn commission on transactions processed.
Thousands of Nigerians have taken advantage of this opportunity to become Xpress Point agents and have in turn, employed several others, thereby improving financial inclusion and creating employment opportunities. Xpress Points are in various neighbourhoods across the country and are well positioned to facilitate financial transactions in the communities which they serve.
Speaking on the support for the agric sector, the Head of Agribusiness at Ecobank Nigeria, Ms Mojisola Oguntoyinbo, noted that the initiative spreads across the 36 states of the federation.
She stressed that it was one of the several concerted efforts on the part of the bank to support the government to create an ecosystem that gives small holder farmers access to funding and the required support to increase food production in the country.
According to her, the scheme was designed to connect small holder farmers with processors and off takers within the agriculture value chain.
“We are creating opportunities in the Agric sector that will help many small holder farmers expand their business and become worthy employers of labour by adopting modern farming techniques for the betterment of our economy.
“We are in strategic partnership with NIRSAL and some other developmental institutions to achieve our purpose.
“We are also partnering the CBN in all its intervention schemes and programmes aimed at developing the sector. Our relationships are generating positive activities across the entire Agric value chain,” she said.
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