In the light of increasing productivity in the agriculture sector, Unity Bank Plc, one of the few agriculture-friendly commercial banks in Nigeria, has partnered with Nigerian rice farmers under the aegis of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) to promote rice farming in the country.
The bank, which was one of the key financial backers of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) played a significant role in the unveiling of the mega rice pyramid at the National Rice Festival which was held in the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
The bank, which keyed into President Muhammed Buhari/CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) initiative to promote rice production in the country, used the event to showcase the efforts of rice farmers in driving self-sufficiency in rice production.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank, Tomi Somefun, used the opportunity of the unveiling to show appreciation to the rice farmers for their support during the implementation of the intervention programme.
The MD promised that the bank would continue to provide unwavering financial support to farmers participating in the Anchor’s Borrowers Programme (ABP) to increase rice production in the country.
"Our strategic partnership with RIFAN started in 2018 when we financed about 273,000 smallholder farmers. This was the largest single-ticket transaction of that year. This financing cuts across 33 states of the Federation, including the FCT", she said.
"In 2019, the bank increased the tally by financing another 146,810 smallholder farmers for the wet and dry seasons of farming. This funding was cut across 35 states, including the FCT.
"Additional funding was granted to finance an additional 221,450 smallholder farmers of the Association across the 32 states of the Federation, including FCT for the wet season, and an additional 300,000 hectares were financed in sixteen states for the 2020 dry season cropping season."
"As of March 2021, the Bank has financed no fewer than 190,000 smallholder rice farmers across 35 states, including the FCT.
"The rice pyramids we see here today are an example of the resilience of the farmers and should be replicated in all states with a focus on the crop where they have a competitive advantage.
"As we gear the programme towards deepening its penetration to reach more farmers, we encourage all beneficiaries of the intervention programme to always utilise the inputs judiciously to key into the Federal Government’s goal of attaining food sufficiency, diversification of the economy from oil, job creation for the teeming youth and poverty reduction.
"We remain optimistic that RIFAN, under the able leadership of the National President, Aminu Goronyo, will continue to engage its members to drive higher performance under the ABP",she concluded by thanking the press for reporting the success story of the programme.
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