Citibank Nigeria Limited (Citi) has extended N4billion ($10million) financing to Babban Gona Farmer Services Nigeria Limited (Babban Gona) to support input credit and harvest advance to smallholder farmers in North Nigeria.
The pioneering transaction will enable 41,000 smallholder farmers to increase their farming income by 350percent/hectare, hence contributing to improved economic opportunity in fragile communities.
The loan is part of the Scaling Enterprise facility, a Citi partnership with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Ford Foundation that enables earlier stage, innovative and inclusive businesses in emerging markets to access local currencies.
Babban Gona is an award-winning agrotech company specializing in the provision of end-to-end value chain services to smallholder farmers including inputs, credit, advisory and offtake across Nigeria. Founded in 2012, Babban Gona aims at sustaining farming communities and creating jobs in agriculture for young farmers by enabling 1 million smallholder farmers, mainly in Northern Nigeria, to augment their farming income by 2025.
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Since inception, the company has cumulatively supported over 280,000 smallholder farmers and provided them with nearly $200million in loans. It has grown to become the single largest maize producing entity in Africa, farming over 170,000 acres of land this season, providing enough food to feed every man, woman and child in Nigeria for nearly 2 weeks.
Kola Masha, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Babban Gona, said: “Babban Gona aims to be the highest impact organization on the agricultural landscape in Africa by supporting our members to generate enough income to improve their livelihoods, education, nutrition, and health. With the support of our partners, like Citibank, Babban Gona has consistently made farming more profitable for tens of thousands of smallholders across Nigeria where we have improved their net income and agricultural productivity to 2X the national average.”
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, CEO-Citibank Nigeria Limited, said: “We are pleased to partner with global development agencies and partners, such as DFC and the Ford Foundation, in the structuring of a pioneering social finance facility aimed at sustaining Nigerian agricultural sector. Babban Gona’s track record and unique business model renders it a partner of choice for scaling positive impact and enabling progress in Nigeria.”
The transaction, which is part of Citi’s $1trillion commitment to sustainable finance by 2030, contributes to progress on several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 1, which aims to eliminate poverty, Goal 2, which aims to eliminate hunger, and Goal 8, in support of expanding decent work and economic growth.
“Babban Gona creates jobs that promote economic opportunity and stability in underserved communities across Nigeria,” said Eugene Amusin, Director, Citi Social Finance. “This transaction exemplifies Citi’s dedication to driving positive social impact in emerging markets and is part of our commitment to invest in opportunities for 15 million households, including 10 million women by 2025.”
“DFC’s investment in Babban Gona will help grow Nigeria’s agriculture sector, create new jobs, and increase food production and profit margins for farmers,” said Jim Polan, Vice President of DFC’s Office of Development Credit. “The strong partnership between DFC and Citi enables us to provide early-stage financing to innovative businesses like Babban Gona, making a development impact in Nigeria and around the world.”
“We are proud to support Babban Gona to bring much-needed solutions to smallholder farmers across Nigeria,” said Christine Looney, deputy director of Mission Investments for the Ford Foundation. “This is a critical expansion of financial services that will provide economic resources for individual farmers alongside the communities they serve.”