Nigeria: Heritage Bank, Gezawa Seek to Boost Agric Sector

Victoria Island, Lagos
16 March 2020

Heritage Bank Plc which has been adjudged the lead settlement bank for Gezawa Commodity Market (GCMX), has collaborated with key stakeholders to revolutionise the agricultural value-chain.

The collaboration was aimed at providing fully integrated ecosystem for commodity Exchange.

According to a statement, Heritage Bank was appointed the Lead Settlement Bank and Transaction Adviser to GCMX and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two firms, whilst over 10, 000 farmers in 3000 cooperatives in the 44 local governments of Kano States were hosted.

"The partnership between Heritage Bank and the Exchange would facilitate the ease of agro commodity trading in a more structured way, especially with the closeness to the Dawanu, the largest grain market in Africa," the statement added.

The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, who was a panelist at the second GCMX Farmers' Cooperative Forum in Kano at the weekend, was quoted in the statement, to have said the partnership was to de-risk the sector and bring about structured and enhanced agro-business and attain food security that leads to economic development.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Executive Director, Jude Monye, explained that the partnership which would help bridge the huge gap associated to risk, would fast track effective price discovery mechanism and traceability and enhanced trade settlement services.

Specifically, the bank's helmsman stated that under the Central Bank of Nigeria's Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Heritage Bank would provide on-lending funding to aggregated farmers in the 2020 farming season to grow various products that will serve as raw materials to the processors, thereby ensuring market linkages and access to the market as well as reduce importation and conserve Nigeria's external reserves.

According to him, with its assigned position Heritage Bank would play a pivotal role in ensuring that there would be an effective and readily available platform for market linkages among players in the agribusiness value chain, involving FMCGs, warehouse operators, collateral managers, processors, farmers' cooperatives to transact in a seamless way that guarantee quality, quantity, payment and delivery.

Speaking at the event, the CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo, affirmed that the initiative would help foster diversification of non-oil export trade.

He, however, stated that NEPC would ensure that the primary aim of the MoU was achieved, whilst calling for adequate and seamless supply of agricultural commodities for the business to be sustainable.

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