Heritage Bank’s 9years of bridging Agric value-chain financing gaps
Nigeria’s agriculture sector over the years has experienced myriads of challenges ranging from sub-optimal yields, shrinking resources, post-harvest losses, fluctuating commodity prices and poor adaptation to changing climate systems, among others.
There are also problems at different stages of the value chain: scarcities in quality of inputs and varieties, inadequate funding, slow adoption of mechanisation, and a high reliance on subsistence production techniques which have hindered scaling, limited processing opportunities with direct impacts on output and value generation.
These developments impacted smallholder farmers who make up the bulk of players in the industry across the country.
Given this development, many Nigerian financial institutions started investing in the agricultural sector. Heritage Bank is one of the banks that have taken pride in the past nine years of its operations to bridge the agriculture value chain financing gaps.
Today marks its worthy milestone in the banking landscape, as Heritage Bank celebrates nine years of entrenching seamless service delivery in the business of banking, it has also remained resilient in hastening the transition of agriculture from traditional, low-productivity models toward a modern, high-productivity agricultural sector.
This has been made possible through its strategic collaboration with key stakeholders like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Government to prioritise the agricultural sector to attract sizable investments that has continued to help drive expansion and achieve competitiveness as well as increase financing to key parts of the value chain, particularly small-holder farmers in a bid to modernize their practices and increase outputs.
Under the various intervention agricultural schemes: Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme amongst others, Heritage Bank has made huge success of the schemes by making funding available to both small holder farmers and SMEs (Prime Anchors) in their efforts to increase agricultural output especially rice and wheat production.
Heritage Bank’s Interventions
Heritage Bank by every instrument of measurement has evidently made funds available to both individuals and corporate organisations in their efforts to increase agricultural output in line with government’s policy and CBN intervention strategies.
The bank has palpably financed critical agricultural projects in the country and, in the process, supported many farmers.
Since the nine eventful years, the bank has opened its doors to its teeming customers, the showpiece of its operations is a full gamut of completed, on-going and nascent people-oriented programmes designed to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations in the country.
This line of operation is steadily yielding great results as the nation continues to move its economic base towards the direction of the future, with a robust emphasis on thoughts about diversification of the county’s economic base.
The Bank is also not relenting in its efforts at boosting the agricultural base of the nation by making farming profitable to stakeholders and attractive to the youth.
It has continued to create market linkages between smallholder farmers and anchors/processors, creating an ecosystem that drives value chain financing, improve access to credit by the smallholder farmers by developing credit history through the scheme and much more.
Ifie Sekibo, managing director/CEO, affirmed that the institution is committed to promoting development of agriculture and ensuring that all levels of its value chain can be financed profitably.
According to him, the bank’s involvement in the sector dated back to many years ago and it has always been at the forefront of ensuring overall growth and development of commodities products in Nigeria.
No doubt Heritage Bank’s unswerving lending to the agricultural sector has earned it a deluge of accolades.
To its portfolio, Heritage Bank earned the Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service Provider in 2017. This was bestowed at the inaugural Nigeria Sustainable Banking Award convened by the CBN “For Sustainable Transaction of The Year in Agriculture.”
The Nigeria Agriculture Awards (NAA), at its annual event convened by AgroNigeria (The Voice of Nigeria’s Agriculture), to appreciate immense efforts of those who have contributed to the success of the agriculture sector in the country, announced Heritage Bank as the Agric Bank of the Year.
According to NAA, Heritage Bank was selected in recognition of its footprints in the Agric space, especially the Triton Aquaculture Project.
Also, the bank, which was adjudged the lead settlement bank for Gezawa Commodity Market (GCMX), collaborated with key stakeholders to revolutionise the agricultural value-chain.
The collaboration was aimed at providing a fully integrated ecosystem for commodity Exchange.
Heritage Bank was appointed the Lead Settlement Bank and Transaction Adviser to GCMX and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two firms, whilst over 10, 000 farmers in 3000 cooperatives in the 44 local governments of Kano States were hosted.