By Dipo Olowookere
A strategic meeting to fast track development of the agricultural sector and enhance national food security in Nigeria has been held between Heritage Bank and Sumitomo Corporation.
This parley is aimed to lead to impactful agribusiness within the segments of the agricultural value chain and make the nation achieve its self-sufficiency goal when it comes to food.
Nigeria is at the threshold of the much-needed agricultural revolution, as food production remains a significant challenge all over the world.
It was because of this Heritage Bank Plc came up with the idea of forming alliance to further create formidable partnership arrangements with Sumitomo Corporation.
According to a statement from the lender on Monday, this relationship is focused on mechanisation and agribusiness will complement the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support agribusiness in the country.
The apex bank has been on the forefront of supporting the sector and last week, the bank offered funding package for those in the cotton industry, just as it has shown huge backing for the textile space.
Recall that on November 17, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the CBN to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.
In the second quarter of 2019, the central bank said since the scheme started, it has so far cumulatively disbursed N174. 48 billion through 19 financial institutions to farmers.
Heritage Bank is a financial institution that has shown tremendous support for players in the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
In 2017, the lender, in conjunction with the CBN, disbursed loan for the building of a N2 billion processing facility for Triton Fish/Chicken in Oyo State. This funding support helped the company commence export of all kinds of frozen foods to some parts of Europe and African countries in 2019, thereby helping the country earn foreign exchange (forex) in the process.
Over two years ago, Managing Director and CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Mr Ifie Sekibo, had said the bank would focus on supporting the agricultural space through financing farmers to purchase modern technology.
He had reiterated the financial institution’s commitment to further deepen the drive to support agribusiness value chain in order to fast track food security and sufficiency in the country.
According to him, Heritage Bank will continue to make farming profitable to stakeholders and attractive to the youth by boosting the agric base of the nation so as to support food sufficiency.
Mr Sekibo had stated that Heritage Bank will support the drive for cash crop commodities that would boost Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, which the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has always been cautious given the dangers the continuous reliance on imported food items pose to its efforts to create jobs as well as develop and diversify the economy.
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