Access Bank Plc has positively contributed to the nation’s achievement of self-sustained food security as it has so far invested over N200 billion in agribusiness.
The investment has benefitted over 10,000 Agribusinesses, across Smal Holder Farms (SHFs), Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), organised farmer associations/cooperatives, and corporates that are financed under various Bank products and Government Schemes.
The bank said this on Tuesday at its headquarters in Lagos, when it unveiled two new business desks; the Agribusiness desk and the Development Banking desk.
Speaking at the event, the Group Head of Commercial Banking, Nsisak Usoro, said, “Our objective this year and I believe what we will drive next year is to support food security. The amount that we will set aside for 2024, will be determined towards the end of the year.”
Hadiza Ambursa, the bank’s executive director of commercial banking, said that when it comes to agribusiness, the bank works to access funding from multiple sources for its customers.
She said, “There are different sources of funding available and we try to access these. Sometimes the Central Bank of Nigeria has intervention funds, we access these for our customers, we have international entities that are willing to provide finance for different sectors, say agric for example, and we access these as well. So it is a combination of risk and sustainable funding as well.”
Emmanuel Makinwa, the team lead of the agribusiness, commercial banking division in his opening speech said the desk catered to the entire value chain in the sector.
Makinwa said, “Part of what we do is to give advisory service to our customers, it may not look significant but it is very key in agribusiness. We also ensure that our customers have market linkage, that is to ensure that our customers have the market for whatever they are producing. For technology, there is a plan already that we will unveil.
“We are organising webinars specifically for women. We notice that they don’t have too much access to finances, so part of it is financial literacy. The bank is working on that to ensure that they have access to finance.
This is part of what we are looking at doing.”
Makinwa added, “The group has contributed a lot to agribusiness in the country. As of today, the group has invested over N200bn in agribusinesses which has benefitted over 10,000 businesses spread across smallholder farmers, SMEs, farmer associations or groups and large corporates, and this has helped greatly in terms of food security, helping our customers to grow their business and helped in job creation.”