In line with the commitment to grow the Nigerian economy through the revival of Agriculture as the major economic catalyst, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in partnership with Unity Bank, and the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), has flagged off the distribution of seeds/inputs supplies to cotton farmers for the 2019 planting season.
The distribution is part of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), a CBN Agricultural Development finance initiative operated as an on-lending scheme with participating financial institutions packaged to channel financing support to
beneficiaries in the sector.
The CBN/ Unity Bank partnership to support wet season farming is in recognition of the Bank’s established pivotal
footprints in Agriculture, which has been well acclaimed in various awards received by the Bank, such as the
Presidential award at the 3rd anniversary of ABP, CBN award on sustainable transaction in Agriculture, etc.
Commenting on the development, the Executive Director, Corporate Planning & Compliance, Usman Abdulqadir, said CBN is partnering with Unity Bank on account of the lender’s strong participation in the ABP, aimed at rebuilding customers’ confidence, alleviating poverty through food and cash crops production to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food and diversifying the economy.
He further said Unity Bank’s strategy for Agriculture is deep rooted: “Unity Bank’s strategy is to bank the agricultural value chain. Therefore, we finance primary production, agricultural processing as well as commodity trading. We also support agricultural mechanisation, agricultural services and the procurement of inputs and implements.”
He continued: “What is most noteworthy is that while other banks basically concentrate on lending to big value end of the agriculture value chain such as the flour and rice millers, Unity Bank does not leave out the small holders farmers who are in primary production.”
The National President of NACOTAN, Mr. Anibe Achimugu, said the Unity Bank/CBN programme would assist members in sourcing the right seeds to be delivered to cotton farmers at the right time.
He also said the association produced estimated seed cotton of between 60,000 and 80,000 tonnes in 2018, hoping that this figure will be surpassed in 2019.
Achimugu listed some of the challenges facing the association to include poor seeds, poor timing or delivery of input, inadequate extension services, poor training and guidance. All these he believes, would be addressed through the participation with CBN and Unity Bank.
Unity Bank has successfully mainstreamed over 500,000 small holder farmers, hitherto financially excluded, thereby supporting CBN’s financial inclusion initiatives.