The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), through it Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) and LAPO Micro Finance Bank, FCMB PLC and DEC NGO-MFI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide financial support to farmers under the VCDP projects.
The MOU is a collaboration between IFAD and the microfinance banks.
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The programme has the objective to afford farmers, especially rural farmers, the services of financial institutions and to access financial support on several levels of implementation.
The target being the poorest of poor farmers who cultivate maximum of 1-2 hectares of farm land and are in need of financial support.
It is a programme of two years which is expected to be reviewed on a quarterly basis.
The National Programme Coordinator of VCDP, Mr Garba Bala, during the signing of the MoU, said that the exercise was one of the basic requirements of the additional financing of IFAD into the programme.
“As we speak now, the program is assisting farmers in several aspects. When we succeed in getting the financial Institute to support the farmers to access finances at a very low rate, by the time the program end they will be independent on their own.
“Our expectations from our financial institutions is to support the farmers, we are all Nigerians we know the extent of poverty at the grass root level and the intensity of farming activity especially the rural setting,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Iliya Gidado Sambo, the Executive Director of Development Exchange Centre, said it was a good idea as this was “another opening that is increasing our market.
“Also have a better understanding on how to move this country forward particularly our agricultural people at the rural areas.”
The Area Manager, LAPO MFB FCT, Mrs Anene .O. Obedi, on her part, said: “Our role is to provide the necessary financial support and help these farmers to meet their input demand.
“We are looking forward to every party to this relationship holding up to its own end of the bargain.
She stressed that agric sector contributes significantly to the GDP and is the highest source of employment to the people of this country and value chain development program are key, adding that; “it forms the basis on what we need to do to develop a value chain eco system in the agric sector.”
Divisional Head of Agric business, FCMB, Mr Kudzai Grumnyu, stressed: “FCMB looks at agriculture as a way of increasing business.
“As a resource of growth for the bank, we believe we can participate in agriculture profitable, especially in ways that fit the value chain.
“If we can give out the funds to the farmers, they will be able to develop, produce which benefits the farmers and the country.
“The farmers will also be lifted out poverty. We believe in impact finance, as a bank we are here to participate fully.”
By Grace Adetutu