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Isidore Brightens Spirits of Smallholder Farmers Affected by Floods



Karen Adie Isidore smallholder farmers

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Last year, Nigeria witnessed one of its worst floods after a similar occurrence a decade earlier. The flooding wreaked havoc on farmlands and destroyed the livelihoods of many smallholder farmers.

Just when victims are feeling like all hope to restart their lives is lost, a Nigerian agritech startup, Isidore, is brightening their spirits.

According to the founder of Isidore, Ms Karen Adie, smallholder farmers are very critical to Nigeria and its food security, and they must not be left alone because it would affect the nation.

Isidore, a member of the Founders Factory Africa startup portfolio, provides access to capital, market linkages, and value-add tools to smallholder farmers. This is so that smallholder farmers can maximise income from their labour. Many of their customers are in the states worst affected by this year’s flooding.

With smallholder farmers making up 85 per cent of Nigeria’s farming community, floods like the ones experienced in Northern Nigeria in 2022 highlight the delicate balance these farmers maintain in providing for their families and themselves while feeding their surrounding communities.

“For farmers in low-lying areas like Argungu in Kebbi state, the floods were a terrible jeopardy. Many have lost their livelihood and their homes. Suddenly, we were faced with a  COVID-level humanitarian crisis,” Ms Adie stated.

“The daily realities of these communities, which are usually impoverished, are real. Yet, they are facing the brunt of climate change, which has created an uncertainty they live with daily.

“Without smallholder farmers, hunger would skyrocket in northern Nigeria. These farmers are our partners. As Isidore, we had to do something,” she added.

She stated that her firm has come up with an initiative, Habitats for Hope Program, to bring succour to smallholder farmers in the country.

Run out of Isidore’s Lagos head office, the Habitats for Hope Program was founded to provide welfare support to grain farmers in rural agrarian communities, with farmers able to join the program by registering on Isidore’s Jinja platform.

“To join the program, you need to be a grain farmer, a member of a farming community or association, and be willing to use the Jinja platform. The platform allows us to directly interact with program beneficiaries quickly, with its existing infrastructure allowing us to scale the program at speed,” Adie explains.

“In terms of what we’ve achieved so far, we identified a total of 44 homes that need to be rebuilt – we split this into 3 phases; we’re currently in phase 1, working on the homes of 6 farmers.

“So far, since the program’s inception in October 2022, we’ve identified 44 homes that need to be rebuilt. The building program has been split into three phases. We are currently in phase 1, working on six homes destroyed by the flooding in Kebbi state. We have 40 local volunteers helping us and our beneficiaries rebuild their homes, and by extension, their communities, as quickly as possible,” she disclosed.

Ms Adie hopes that from these seeds, the program can work with over 200 farming communities in Nigeria by December 2024. Beyond flood assistance, the Habitats For Hope Program focuses more broadly on housing and living conditions, education and skills development, and healthcare and disease prevention.

“We could not just limit the program to housing and living conditions. If a farmer gets sick and cannot tend to their land, it directly impacts that farmer’s ability to feed themselves, their family, and the surrounding community that relies on them. Worse, it directly impacts that farmer’s livelihood, with the sale of excess crops being their primary source of income.

“Coupled with this, education can play a vital role in allowing farmers to increase crop yield and use new ways to farm their lands. A larger yield means greater food security and can make a tangible difference in farmers’ lives through the money they make selling their produce,” she stated.

With the program in its infancy, Ms Adie and the Isidore team are searching for partners to enlarge the program’s impact. Partners could contribute financially to procure materials and extend the program’s ability to develop affected communities.

The provision of volunteers, building materials, equipment, farming inputs, and healthcare is just as critical. Furthermore, access to training, skills development and other service contributions are being sought.

Business Post recalled that between August and October 2022, floods ravaged thousands of homes across northern Nigeria, with the states of Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano and Sokoto significantly affected.

It is believed that at least 30 people died due to the flooding, with survivors now having to pick up the pieces.

Beyond the destruction of homes and loss of life, the flooding represents a mortal threat to the livelihoods and food security of farmers and people living in flooded areas, with vital farmlands ruined and critical roads and bridges washed away.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.


Jumia, Churches, POS Operators, Others Reject Old Naira Notes



old Naira notes

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the leading e-commerce companies in Nigeria, Jumia, has announced that from Monday, January 30, 2023, it will no longer accept the old Naira notes as a form of payment for goods purchased on the platform.

In a message to its customers on Thursday, the company said this action followed the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop the use of the N200, N500, and N1,000 for financial transactions in Nigeria from February 1, 2023.

On October 26, 2022, the governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced that the three denominations would be redesigned. The new banknotes were introduced into circulation on December 15, and Nigerians were asked to return the old notes on or before January 31, 2023.

In order not to miss the deadline, and with the central bank insisting that it would not extend the deadline, Jumia has said its customers have till Sunday to pay for its goods and services with the old notes.

“From Monday, January 30, 2023, Jumia Delivery Associates will not be able to accept the old notes of N200, N500, and N1,000 sequel to the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Should you wish to pay by cash, our delivery associates will only accept the new series of notes.

“Alternatively, you can find details on how to prepay on Jumia using JumiaPay or call us if there are any further questions.

“We will communicate further in case of any change from the federal government or central bank,” the notice from the firm, which was seen by Business Post, stated.

Meanwhile, a few churches in Lagos have asked their members not to pay tithes and offerings with the old banknotes from Sunday, January 29, 2023, due to the CBN directive.

“In reference to CBN’s directive and policy on old Naira notes, we hereby appeal to members not to come to church starting from this Sunday with old Naira notes (200, 500 & 1000).

“Please kindly make your payments (tithes, offerings, project donations and other payments) in new Naira notes.

“You can as well make an online transfer to the designated accounts (check the flier for details).

“Please share this message with members that are not on this platform,” a message from one of the parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) said.

Also, checks by this reporter indicated that some POS operators have said they would no longer accept the old notes from their customers from Saturday, January 28, 2023.

“I will not accept cash deposits with the old notes from Saturday because I know the banks will be filled up next week with people who want to deposit their cash.

“This morning, I was at one of the banks to deposit the cash with me, but the crowd there scared me.

“The banks were still giving customers the old notes. I am just confused about the situation. We do not have the new notes. Almost all the ATM terminals in this area are not dispensing cash to customers,” a POS operator in the Egbeda area of Lagos, Mrs Modupe Adediran, told Business Post.

Similarly, a trader at Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, Mr Ikenna Okechukwu, informed this reporter that he has stopped accepting the old banknotes from his customers.

However, some commercial bus drivers in Lagos said they will still accept the old banknotes next week.

“I don’t have any issue with the money. I have a strong belief that the central bank will extend the deadline. The announcement will be made next week,” a danfo driver in Ikeja, who identified himself as Mr Tajudeen, said.

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SFS Fund Mobile App Sees 300% Rise in Downloads



SFS Fund Mobile App

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The mutual fund investment app of SFS Capital, the SFS Fund Mobile App, has recorded a 300 per cent uptick in downloads less than one year after it was launched.

The SFS Fund Mobile App has exciting features that have endeared it to new and existing users. The app has an easy-to-use interactive dashboard; it also allows retail investors with N5,000 to start an investment.

In addition, users can make direct transfers from their banks to their virtual accounts and have access to third-party payments to make payments directly into users’ investment accounts.

In the second half of 2022, the SFS Fund Mobile App was launched to enable individuals to begin their investment journey with ease.

“There’s no doubt that investment apps became really popular last year, and we are extremely excited about the growth of the SFS Fund Mobile App and how it is playing a role in encouraging more individuals to start their investment journey with Mutual Fund,” the Managing Director and CEO of SFS Capital, Mr Patrick Ilodianya, said.

Globally, there has been a rise in the usage of retail investment apps. The COVID-19 pandemic induced pragmatic investment decisions by individuals, coupled with increased accessibility to mobile, enabled more individuals to start investing.

The SFS Fund Mobile App is apt for individuals who need a trustworthy, secure and easy platform for high-yield investments in mutual funds.

The app is available for download on Android and iOS. Investments made via the app are managed by seasoned investment experts in the Nigerian financial market who ensure that the returns paid to investors range from 11 per cent to 17 per cent per annum.

The fund has consistently maintained an “AA+” rating which is the 2nd highest possible rating for a mutual fund, and has a highly competitive return on investment and no pre-termination charge.

Investment in mutual funds is a proven recipe for wealth creation, given the opportunities and flexibility it presents to investors.

“This year, we will like to encourage more individuals to make a more decisive move concerning their finances. Investing in mutual funds via the SFS Mobile Fund App makes it possible for individuals to begin to build wealth, especially in an economy like ours that is characterised by downturns and uncertainties,” Mr Ilodianya added.

The SFS Mobile Fund App is part of SFS Capital’s digitisation narrative as the investment management company builds on the legacy it has as a leading Nigerian non-bank financial institution.

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Julius Berger Offers for Sale N30bn Commercial Paper in Two Series



Julius berger

By Dipo Olowookere

Commercial paper worth N30 billion is being offered for sale to investors by Julius Berger Plc in two series to raise funds for its operations.

Business Post gathered that the exercise commenced on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, and is expected to end on Monday, January 30, 2023.

The company, which is a leading player in the construction industry, is selling the debt instrument across two tenors, 182 days and 267 days.

The discount rate of the 182-day paper is 13.09 per cent, with an implied yield of 14.00 per cent, while the 267-day paper has a discount rate of 13.52 per cent and an implied yield of 16.00 per cent.

To buy the commercial paper of the construction firm, subscribers will have to pay at least N5 million. This can be done through registered brokerage companies.

In the 2021 fiscal year, Julius Berger grew its revenue by 40.13 per cent to N338.8 billion from N241.8 billion in 2020, as its net profit jumped by 574.96 per cent to N8.3 billion from N1.2 billion in the preceding accounting year.

Julius Berger is a leading Nigerian company offering holistic services covering the planning, design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings, infrastructure and industry projects in Nigeria.

Since the execution of its pioneer project in 1965 by Julius Berger Tiefbau AG, a related entity, Julius Berger has played a pivotal role in the development of Nigeria’s industrial and civil infrastructure.

It was incorporated as a private company in 1970 and was later converted to a public company and joined the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited in 1991.

Julius Berger has completed over 600 buildings, 20 industrial facilities and 130 infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

Infrastructure projects carried out by the firm include the construction of roads, bridges, seaports, airports, automobile assembly plants, dams, factories, petrol stations, independent power plants, development of the capital city (Abuja), amongst other projects.

Some of the landmark projects successfully executed by the company were the recent construction of the landmark Second River Niger Bridge aimed at strengthening socio-economic development across the East-West region, the construction of the Second Mainland Bridge (Eko Bridge), the repair of the Onitsha bridge in seven weeks, construction of the 500m long and 25m high Laminga Dam, with spillway system, water-treatment plant and 48km pipeline distribution network, completion of construction work for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, etc. The Company specialises in executing complex works requiring the highest level of technical expertise and Nigeria-specific know-how.

Julius Berger has seven subsidiaries that enable it to complete multifaceted projects at the highest level of performance. This structure allows the organisation to effectively manage and fulfil construction projects, starting from the initial idea through to planning, design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance.

Julius Berger, together with its subsidiaries, is guided by a value system which has, over time, defined and differentiated its business, thereby setting a benchmark in the Nigerian construction industry. Julius Berger offers its industrial clients forward-looking solutions that preserve the high value of assets and guarantee their sustained availability.

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