In its bid to strongly drive its strategic business focus on rural economy, Unity Bank Plc has developed a product called NIRSAL Farmers Savings Account specifically designed as a platform to execute a key aspect of the service level agreement for the NIRSAL UNITY BANK channel partnership to bank farmers in rural areas. NIRSAL, (Nigerian Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending) is borne out of the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase the disbursement of the Anchor Borrower funds to more farmers at the grassroots level and the product was conceived to expand and capture more states of the federation to benefit from the scheme.
Commenting on the Farmer’s product, the Head, Agribusiness, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olugbenga Emmanuel Adelana, said, “a total of 7 states – Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Adamawa, Kaduna, Kano and Bauchi and over 9000 small holder farmers have signed on to the scheme when the pilot of the Channel Partnership Agreement (CPA) first came on stream. The success and the need to grow the number of Farmers benefiting from the scheme in other states of the federation have therefore given rise to the development of NIRSAL Farmers Savings Account”. There is no gainsaying that the creation of several intervention schemes by the Central Bank of Nigeria will boost economic diversification and reduce over dependency on Crude oil. CBN is thus funding the Anchor Borrowers Scheme in which it has set aside a whooping N500Billion for the creation of rural employment and assurance of food security.
As a sequel, A Memorandum of Understanding and Service Level Agreement on the implementation of the Channel partnership has been approved and signed by Unity Bank and NIRSAL. Under the partnership, NIRSAL aims to disburse up to N100Billion out of the N500Billion earmarked by CBN for the Anchor Borrower Scheme, using Unity Bank as “channel partner”.
The scheme will leverage Unity Bank’s extensive rural branch network, e-channels and technology to reach several thousands of un-banked smallholder farmers in rural Nigeria, with access to finance for staple crops and livestock production, under Central Bank of Nigeria funded Anchor Borrowers Scheme. “Unity Bank Plc, being a niche player in Agricultural financing in Nigeria, with active participation in most government intervention schemes and support for key policy initiatives to drive growth and transformation of Nigeria’s Agricultural economy, has provided this platform to execute a key aspect of the service level agreement for the NIRSAL UNITY BANK channel partnership”, says Olugbenga .. The Bank’s Head of Agric Desk. NIRSAL is expected to channel about N2Billion in loans for dry-season farming to small holder farmers across 7 states already sign on to the scheme.