FirstBank Disburses N100 billion to Strengthen Agric Sector

First Bank

FirstBank of Nigeria Limited has disbursed over N100 billion under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) initiative introduced to strengthen the agricultural value chain.

The Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, disclosed this recently, at the bank’s 2019 Agric Expo tagged: ‘Agricultural Value Chain: Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Risks,’ held in Lagos.

CACS is a Central Bank of Nigeria development finance initiative that was designed to provide long-tenured credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at a single-digit interest rate.

He said obligors included small, medium and large-scale enterprise in the agricultural value chain.

Adeduntan said the bank also supported 118 projects, representing over 23 percent out of a total of 509 projects supported by all banks in the country.

He noted that the projects spread across input supplies, primary production, processing and marketing.

“We are also supporting research and development through the endowment of professorial chairs in agriculture in some Nigerian universities.

“We have also provided infrastructure to support learning and development in Agriculture associated fields in Nigerian universities,” Adeduntan stated.

The First Bank CEO, further stated that the bank was also partnering with states in the CBN’s Accelerated Development Agric Development Scheme (AADS).

He added that the bank had also disbursed more than N40 billion under the CBN’s Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS).

According to him, the bank in partnership with public sector institutions had supported several state governments on Agricultural Development Trust Fund Scheme.

“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 focusing 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.”

About Author

Victor Okeh is a graduate of Economics from Lagos State University. He is versatile in reporting business and economy, politics and finance, and entrepreneurship articles. He can be reached via – [email protected]

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