By Ugo Aliogo

The Managing Director First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Subsidiaries, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, has expressed the commitment of the bank to continue in financing agricultural businesses and enabling farmers.

Adeduntan who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos at the First Bank Agric Expo 2018 with theme: ‘Innovating for a Sustainable Green Economy’ noted that the event was indicative of their commitment to increasingly collaborate with public and private sector partners to fully restore the prime role of the agricultural sector as the mainstay of the national economy.

He also stated that following their priority as a continuous financier of credit worthy agro-allied businesses, their team of dedicated agricultural professionals specialising in various fields of agriculture are strategically located to identify and support agricultural enterprises.

He added that the dedicated agricultural professionals cut across all regions of the country, with a suite of customised sector and customer friendly agricultural financing solutions.

Adeduntan maintained that the bank had a large base of existing small, medium and commercial agribusiness clients across the country operating in all segments of the agricultural value chain covering primary production, storage, processing, packaging and agro export, and others.

The First Bank MD further stated that in partnership with public sector institutions, the bank had supported several State Governments on Agricultural Development Trust Fund Scheme (ADTF), which he noted that it was an initiative designed to provide credit facilities to small scale farmers who do not have collateral. 

According to him, “Under the federal government’s Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme for long tenured credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises – at single digit interest rate – First Bank has supported over 23% of all the enterprises supported by all the banks put together. The projects spread across input supplies, primary production, processing and marketing. Obligors include small, medium and large scale enterprise in the agricultural value chain.

“Honourable Ministers, you may recall that the Anchor Borrower Programme was an innovative product developed by First Bank, as it was then known as ‘Industrial End Users Out-grower Scheme’, which is now improved for enhanced delivery. With these experiences, First Bank worked immensely to support the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in actualising the efforts of reviving all the value–chains as envisioned by the federal government of Nigeria.

“In addition, following the policy for playing down on importation of some of the commodities and encouragement of exportation of agricultural commodities, First Bank is at the forefront of adopting the supportive schemes newly introduced by the CBN, such as the Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facilities (NESF).”