Sterling bank farmers’ radio to improve access to credit

Sterling Bank Plc has said that its farmers’ radio will improve access to credit for smallholder farmers while broadening their skills.

The 2021 edition of Nigerian Farmers Radio, the Pan-Nigeria agribusiness-related radio show initiated by the bank, will focus on product-to-region mapping, value chain focus and access to credit.

It is broadcasted in major Nigerian languages, including Pidgin English, to meet diverse demographic needs.

“This edition’s programme adopts a product-to-region mapping and value chain focus in useful content delivery to see the hard work of Nigerian farmers lead to prosperity and food security for themselves, their communities and the nation at large,” said Abubakar Suleiman, chief executive officer of Sterling bank.

He added that radio is a vital way of getting information across to those in rural farming communities and more than 90 percent of people in the rural communities own at least one functional radio.

Their remote locations increase their risk of missing out on new opportunities such as the single-digit interest Sterling Women and Youths in Agriculture Finance (SWAY AgFin) solution for small to mid-scale agribusiness practitioners.

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The Farmers’ Radio would address any challenge by bringing useful and relevant topics that will improve productivity to farmers. The topics for discussion would be region-specific with solutions proffered to address all challenges farmers are likely to encounter.

Also speaking, Bukola Awosanya, group head, agric finance and solid minerals at Sterling Bank, said that the program is conceptualized to ensure that farmers who operate in remote locations reduce the risk of missing out on new opportunities such as the single-digit interest Sterling Women and Youths in Agriculture Finance (SWAY AgFin) solution developed and distributed in partnership with Mastercard Foundation to help increase the output and profitability of agribusiness by making much-needed capital available to entrepreneurs.

She said that initiatives such as the program remain imperative because the adverse effect of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has not only restricted output as well as people’s access to sufficient and nutritious sources of food, but has also slowed down cash flow in the hands of food suppliers and farmers, hindering farmers from returning to farms in due time.

The group head, agric and solid minerals finance with Sterling Bank, said, “For 2021, our approach will be to assess region-specific value chains to maximize impact, value of the investment and deliver solutions tailored to the most active and valuable products in the region.”

According to her, the value chain focus for the Northeast and Northwest sub-regions will be maize, rice, and sesame with the delivery language as Hausa while in the southwest will focus on Aquaculture, Poultry, Vegetables, and Cassava to mention a few and delivery will be in the Yoruba language.

“For the North Central sub-region, the value chain focus is poultry, soybeans and cassava with p while for Southeast and South-South, the value chain focus is aquaculture, palm oil, and cassava,” Awosanya said.

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