Ecobank, NIRSAL Partner To Increase Loans To Farmers
Ecobank Nigeria Limited says it is partnering with the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, United States Agency for International Development, Development Bank of Nigeria and other developmental partners to double the amount of credit it provides to the agricultural sector over the next two/three years.
In a statement, the head of Agric Business Department , Ecobank Nigeria, Mojisola Oguntoyinbo, said some of the partners will be providing guarantee on loans granted by Ecobank to Nigerian farmers and processors.
“Separately, we are exploring partnership across the globe to support cheaper lines of credit to players in the industry through Export Credit Agencies.
“The bank plans to increase loan portfolio to the agricultural sector by N70bn within the next two to three years and the lender will hold an agribusiness summit next month themed – “Unlocking productivity and investment opportunities across Nigeria’s agribusiness value chain.”
According to her, it would target all players in all value-chain of the sector (input suppliers, crop and livestock producers, processors, commodity exporters among others).
The statement said banks in Africa’s biggest oil producer were increasing lending to the agricultural industry amid a push by the Federal Government to diversify the economy away from crude.
It stated, “The Central Bank of Nigeria has regulated banks to maintain a minimum loan-to-deposit ratio of 65 per cent or face penalties, while supporting the government’s drive to produce more food locally and curb imports.
“While Ecobank has a loan-to-deposit ratio of more than 65 per cent in Nigeria, it is targeting agriculture to boost its return on investment.’
She said small and medium enterprises were growing rapidly in the agricultural sector and there were opportunities there, which it desired to nurture for growth and development.