Nigeria’s agro-commodity trading may soon record an upswing with the new finance facility structured in the form of working capital from a minimum of N100 million to a maximum of N2billion for qualified customers by First City Monument Bank (FCMB).
The revamped facility is designed for agro-commodity merchants with supply contracts to multinationals, large corporate and processors of agro-commodities. It is targeted at commodities like cocoa, cashew nut, sesame, ginger, palm oil, grains- maize, sorghum, soya beans, and paddy rice. The development, according to the bank, marks another bold step to expand and deepen its support to the agricultural sector, its value-chain, and the overall growth of the Nigerian economy. The Divisional Head of Agribusiness of FCMB, Kudzai Gumunyu, while speaking to journalists, said the bank recognises the gap that exists in agribusiness financing, as well as other challenges faced by operators, including farmers, in the sector. “We realise there are millions of agro-traders and processors across the country that need credit at convenient and affordable rates, considering the level of attraction the sector has garnered.
“Our decision to introduce a revamped agro-commodity trade finance facility is part of our intervention in the agribusiness space to ensure agribusinesses and other stakeholders are empowered with the requisite funds and enablers to boost production and marketing of agricultural commodities. “Commodity producers and traders stand to immensely benefit from this facility because it is a veritable and convenient opportunity to access funds that ensure cash flow is available for maximum output. We urge all to take advantage of this offering,” he said. He assured that FCMB is focused on being a strategic partner in the agriculture sector to drive diversification of the Nigerian economy, food self-sufficiency, employment and export earnings.
Gumunyu said FCMB in 2018, provided lines of credit that peaked at eight per cent of the bank’s total loan book to the agriculture sector, with the intention to improve on this milestone. “For instance, the bank facilitated and guaranteed the procurement of 50 tractors by the Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) Ventures from the Bank of Industry. The tractors were handed over to the association recently at Ilero town, Oyo State. “Recently, the lender signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI). “The memorandum is aimed at deepening agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the informal and agribusiness sectors, starting with five states, namely Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo. The plan is to reach two million farmers nationwide by the year 2023,” he added.