Access Bank Plc, says it has enhanced its Agriculture Desk to boost sustainable agricultural business and attract global investments.
The Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Access Bank, Ms Hadiza Ambursa, at a news conference on Wednesday in Lagos, said that the move aimed at improving value for its customers and stakeholders.
Ambursa said that the advancement positions the bank at the forefront of Nigeria’s agricultural financing market segment to serve and support agribusinesses in Nigeria.
According to her, this is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive to banks.
She said that the agriculture desk serves as a specialized unit which is charged with the responsibility of offering financial and advisory services.
She said that the desk also supports prospects and existing players in the agri-business value chain.
Ambursa said this is in the areas of input and supply, primary production, storage, processing, marketing, mechanization, among others.
The executive director explained that the creation of the desks was to actualize the ‘From Farm to Table’ Policy thrust of the CBN, which aligns with the bank’s vision of contributing to the country’s achievement of sustainable food security.
“Access Bank’s agriculture desk is first of its kind in the Nigerian agricultural financing market segment to bridge the funding gap in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
“This is done by promoting agribusiness activities through sustainable lending to customers, while providing sustainable and innovative agribusiness solutions for the markets and communities the bank is serving.
“This is done by collaborating closely with the market to understand their unique needs, offering tailored financial products and services to optimize their operations and facilitate expansions.
“Accelerate the growth of agribusiness and enhance the livelihoods of farmers and agro-entrepreneurs, by strategically aligning its services with the evolving needs in the agricultural industry,” she said.
According to her, the bank provides tailored financial solutions that address the unique challenges faced by farmers, agribusinesses and other stakeholders in the value chain with the value addition services.
Ambursa said these include provision of financial and advisory services, market linkages to support sales, capacity building, with special focus on women and youth, stakeholders’ engagement, project monitoring and reporting.
She mentioned that the bank’s agriculture desk has a seamless and simplified process for the accessibility of the service.
The executive director said: ” The agriculture desk is not only about financing; it is about driving transformational change within the agricultural landscape.
“Our commitment extends beyond monetary support to encompass capacity building, technology adoption and market access for our clients.
“The desk’s impressive track record has been built on partnerships with key stakeholders, including government agencies, international organizations and industry associations.
“This collaborative approach has reinforced our reputation as a reliable driver of growth in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.”
Ambursa noted that the bank has positively contributed to the nation’s achievement of self-sustained food security.
She revealed that the bank’s investment in agribusiness, so far, is over N200 billion, which has benefitted over 10,000 Agribusinesses, across Small Holder Farms (SHFs).
Also, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), organised farmer associations or cooperatives and corporates who are financed under various bank’s product and government schemes.
The executive director said that the support for these projects has had impacts, such as increase in food security, job creation, growth in customers’ businesses and increased revenue.
Ambursa stated that with a steadfast commitment to sustainable agricultural business and strategic stakeholders partnerships, the bank is steering the nation and continent toward greater self-sufficiency and global prominence.
She said that the bank had earned several awards to its credits, which includes: 2021 and 2022 Global Brand Magazine Award of “Best Agro Banking Brand, 2021 Nigeria Agriculture Award of Agric Bank of the year.
It also won the 2020 African Banker Awards of “Agriculture Deal of the Year, 2019 Central Bank of Nigeria ‘Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme’ Award, 2018 and 2019 Central Bank of Nigeria ‘Most Sustainable Bank in Agriculture’ award.