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Mercy Corps, LAPO parley to support 540,000 north east farmers with N200bn loan

The Mercy Corps, an NGO and a leading Micro-finance Bank (MfB) in Nigeria, LAPO have said that they are collaborating with to support smallholder farmers…

The Mercy Corps, an NGO and a leading Micro-finance Bank (MfB) in Nigeria, LAPO have said that they are collaborating with to support smallholder farmers in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Gombe states.

The organizations said this on Friday in Abuja, while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is worth about N200bn easy loans, targeting 540,000 beneficiaries.

The Managing Director of LAPO MfB, Cynthia Ikponmwosa, said that the collaboration was in furtherance of the bank’s mandate of social and economic empowerment of vulnerable members of the society.

She said that the MfB creates interventions like access to financial services to small holder farmers and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

“This MoU re-emphasizes our 30 years mandate of economic empowerment of members of low-income households who are the most vulnerable.

“We further contribute to enhancing financial inclusion and rural economic resilience,” Ikponmwosa said.

She expressed hope for a fruitful collaboration with Mercy Corps in the bid to support small holder farmers in parts of the insurgency-ravaged north east to improve the farming yield and economic power in the region and by extension the country.

On his part, Country Director of Mercy Corps, Ndubisi Anyanwu, said that the organisation was a global human development organisation committed to uplifting lives of vulnerable people worldwide.

He said that the MoU with LAPO MfB created an opportunity to further expand and promote economic growth while reducing hunger amongst vulnerable Nigerians.

“This is our decade of operation in Nigeria, and we have been able to empower thousands of our vulnerable beneficiaries in the areas of financial inclusion, education, income generation, agriculture, sanitation and hygiene.

“These are our areas of focus. This MoU gives us opportunities to expand our impact of promoting agriculture, promoting economic growth whilst reducing hunger, ” he said.

He added that the collaboration with LAPO would reduce poverty and increase access to improved agricultural practices while increasing financial inclusion to vulnerable people in the North East.

“It is the coming together of like-minds to improve agricultural practices and economic activities for the country,” Anyanwu said.

Also, Mercy Corps’ Chief of Party, Margarita Aswani, said that the project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the support of International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC).

She said, “We started off at $30m, in July 2021, they gave us an additional $50m dollars. Our goal is to directly benefit 540,000 smallholder farmers and producers. They also want us to extend to Benue, Kebbi, Ebonyi and Niger states.”

Also, the Program Advisor, Financial Services, Mercy Corps, Mark Akpan, said that the MoU was in furtherance of Mercy Corps’ ‘Feed the Future’ initiative, a five-year USAID-funded program to facilitate economic recovery and growth in conflict-affected areas.