By Omodele Adigun
The Group CEO of Stanbic-IBTC Holdings Plc, Mrs Sola David-Borha, has urged Nigerians to open their eyes to the opportunities in agricultural sector in order to support the diversification drive of the Federal Government. The advice comes as an agro-based firm, Doreo Partners, plans to float $500million Poverty Bond to assist small holder farmers across the country.
According to Mrs David-Borha, agriculture is a game changer for the country since it has the capacity to drive export for the much-needed foreign exchange (forex) and create jobs.
Mrs David-Borha, who stated this during the Stanbic-IBTC Business Leadership Forum Thursday in Lagos, said the implementation of policies and ideas canvassed in different fora are important in unlocking opportunities in the sector.
Her words: “Agriculture for Nigeria is a game changer. We all know the enabling effects of agriculture on our economy;the fact is, it can create millions of jobs across the entire value chain and it can drive export for the much-needed foreign exchange(forex). For me, I think the real challenge for us is actually in unlocking the opportunities in agriculture; making everything that we all talk about a reality so that agriculture is really firing on all its cylinders. “For us at stanbic-IBTC, we consider agriculture to be a key sector, we play across the entire value chain, we provide financing; advisory, machinery and we help also to drive export. I used to think that agriculture was one of the potential sources of deposit for the bank until I was corrected that agriculture is about providing the right type of financing across the value chain and other things come along with it.It does require intensive capital; it does require dedication and commitment to see you through, and the rewards are huge.
I am hoping that this will surely open our hearts and our minds to the opportunities in agriculture.we believe this will help in supporting the Federal Government’s drive towards the diversification of the economy.”
Meanwhile, the President of , Doreo Partners, Mr Kola Masha , has unveiled plan of the company to float $500million Poverty Bond to provide credit to about one million small scale farmers across the country.
Masha , who disclosed this on the sidelines of the Stanbic-IBTC Business Leadership Forum Thursday in Lagos, said the key partner in the issue is the UK government Department of International Department, FCMB and some local and international investors.
He explained that his firm has been in the business of providing credit to small holder farmers in the last five years to help them increase their income.
“The Chairman of our board is Emir of Kano, Alhaji Mohammodu Sanusi 111, who is dedicated to transform Nigeria. He has travelled round the globe with us to raise $40million in Poverty Bonds to finance farmers in the next couple of years.
And we have been very fortunate in the last five years to have such team of high net worth individuals to raise that poverty bonds to finance 40,000 farmers to provide them with safe and secure returns. If you look at the financing needs of Nigerian farmers, to support one million farmers , you need to raise a fund in the range of half a billion dollars. And we are working with our partners.”