Access Bank Plc has taken a significant step towards fortifying the agricultural sector by enhancing its Agriculture Desk. This move is aimed at fostering sustainable agricultural businesses and attracting global investments. Hadiza Ambursa, Executive Director of Commercial Banking at Access Bank, made this announcement during a press conference in Lagos.
The objective is to enhance value for customers and stakeholders, positioning the bank as a leader in Nigeria’s agricultural financing market. This aligns with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive to financial institutions.
The agriculture desk operates as a specialized unit responsible for providing financial and advisory services. It offers support to both prospective and existing players in the agribusiness value chain. This encompasses various aspects such as input and supply, primary production, storage, processing, marketing, and mechanization.
Ambursa emphasized that the creation of these desks is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ‘From Farm to Table’ Policy, which mirrors the bank’s vision of contributing to sustainable food security in the country.
She highlighted that Access Bank’s agriculture desk is the first of its kind in the Nigerian agricultural financing market, addressing the funding gap in the sector. It achieves this by promoting agribusiness activities through sustainable lending and providing innovative agribusiness solutions tailored to the market’s unique needs.
The bank offers tailored financial solutions addressing the distinctive challenges faced by farmers, agribusinesses, and stakeholders in the value chain. These include financial and advisory services, market linkages, capacity building with a focus on women and youth, stakeholders’ engagement, and project monitoring and reporting.
Ambursa revealed that the bank’s investment in agribusiness exceeds N200 billion, benefiting over 10,000 agribusinesses, including Small Holder Farms (SHFs), Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and corporates. These ventures receive financing under various bank products and government schemes.
The bank’s support for these projects has led to positive impacts, including increased food security, job creation, business growth for customers, and enhanced revenue. With unwavering commitment and strategic partnerships, Access Bank is steering the nation and continent toward greater self-sufficiency and global prominence.
The bank has earned several awards, including the Global Brand Magazine Award for “Best Agro Banking Brand” in 2021 and 2022, and the Nigeria Agriculture Award for “Agric Bank of the Year” in 2021. It also received the African Banker Award for “Agriculture Deal of the Year” in 2020 and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s “Most Sustainable Bank in Agriculture” award in 2018 and 2019.