Sterling Bank to implement 10% agric lending in 2015
…IARSAF harps on affordable rates for farmers
The nation’s agriculture sector may have been prioritised in the lending programme of the Sterling Bank Plc in 2015, with a 10 per cent projection for the sector.
The plan, which would ensure a boost to the sector, was at the weekend, disclosed by the lender, as it reiterated commitment to the strategic growth of the all-important segment of the economy.
According to the bank, it would increase the proportion of loans allocated to sector from the total loans earmarked for disbursement to various sectors of the economy from five per cent 10 per cent in 2015.
The bank will also be willing to partner with major stakeholders– both private and public in the sector to ensure that farmers begin to see agriculture more as a business.
Speaking at a conference organized by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in collaboration with the International Association of Research Scholars and Fellows (IARSAF), the bank’s Group Head, Agric Finance, Mrs. Bukola Awosanya, stated that the five per cent allocated to the sector in 2014 was fully disbursed to the various sub-sectors across the value chain for the financing of projects nationwide.
Awosanya, who disclosed that the bank is a major financier of one of the largest rice mills in Nigeria, as well as a state of the art soya bean oil milling plant, noted that the financial institution had also provided fund to finance poultry businesses.
The bank official, who also led a delegation to the Deputy Director-General, Partnership and Capacity Development of IITA, Dr. Kenton Dashiell, said that the decision was informed by the need to provide adequate funding in alignment with the on-going reforms in the sector aimed at repositioning it as an attractive business proposition.
She pointed out that the sector is an input provider for the manufacturing sector and a key foreign exchange earner for the country.
The President of IARSAF, Mrs. Bunmi Ibitoye, who commended the bank for its contribution to the growth of the sector in Nigeria, called on other corporate bodies to emulate the lender by providing funds to support research works being carried out by professionals in the field to solve major issues confronting the sector.