Saturday, August 28, 2021 1:45 pm
About 500,000 farmers and vulnerable Nigerians in the North-East geopolitical zone will be provided access to farming-friendly and demand-driven financial services. This is the result of the partnership announced on 25 August by First City Monument Bank (FCMB), the banking subsidiary of FCMB Group, and Mercy Corps, a frontline international aid organisation.
The partnership, according to a statement by the bank, also published by parrotnigeria, is supported by USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, and will deliver funding and capacity-building support to smallholder farmers and vulnerable people living in the conflict-affected states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe.
The Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity aims to facilitate and promote economic recovery and growth in these group of people to move them out of chronic vulnerability and poverty through expanded opportunities.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU on August 25, 2021, in Lagos, the Managing Director and CEO of FCMB, Yemisi Edun, expressed appreciation to Mercy Corps and other partners for having confidence in the bank’s capability to successfully drive the initiative.
“We are delighted to play another crucial role in developing our local communities and the society at large,” said Mrs. Edun. “This partnership will significantly improve the living standards of farmers and other vulnerable people by boosting food sufficiency and reducing poverty. It will also de-escalate insecurity in the North-East. All of these align with FCMB’s commitment to creating opportunities for individuals and businesses to attain their growth potential.”
Also speaking at the event, the Country Director of Mercy Corps Nigeria, Ndubisi Anyanwu, said the organisation is extremely proud to be supporting initiatives that drive recovery and increase investment in North-East Nigeria. According to him, Mercy Corps has been working to implement several programs that aim to sustainably transition people in conflict-affected areas out of humanitarian assistance to recovery and through to development.
The Chief of Party, Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, Margarita Aswani, expressed delight that this partnership will enable FCMB to adapt its loan products and offerings to fit the context in North-East Nigeria. She said the MoU will empower farmers, small ruminant producers, and microenterprise owners to grow their businesses and increase yields. “The Activity, proudly aims to facilitate access to national and international technical expertise to support FCMB’s strategies for expanding to new and emerging agricultural markets in North-East Nigeria,” she added.
The FCMB and Mercy Corps intervention targets smallholder farmers and micro-enterprises working in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors with a particular interest in young people and women. The scope covers maize, cowpea, groundnuts, rice production, and animal husbandry. Beneficiaries will have access to agricultural inputs, financial services, and literacy programmes.
The range of FCMB’s products to back the initiative includes credit, savings, insurance, and payment offerings. The bank said it will deploy its loan products that include Easy Club, SME Development Finance Facility, SME Assets Finance Facility, SME Working Capital Facility, SME Invoice Discounting Facility and E Don Beta, to enable the farmers have adequate opportunities that would enhance their productivity.