Rice Farmers under the aegis of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), have commended Unity Bank Plc for the pivotal role it plays in facilitating credit to farmers under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
In a statement, the association specially commended the Managing Director the Bank, Tomi Somefun, for her leadership and doggedness in supporting the rice farmers through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, which is playing a critical role in Nigeria’s quest to attain self-sufficiency in rice production.
At a forum to flag-off of wet season harvest and display of rice paddy pyramid in Gombe State during the week, the President of RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo, expressed gratitude to Unity Bank for always supporting the association to take advantage of the CBN-backed intervention programme.
According to the statement, the Central Bank of Nigeria invited the Bank to the Zonal flag-off of sale of rice paddy and display of rice pyramid in Gombe State, based on the strength of Unity Bank participation in the ABP.
in her message to the farmers at the event, Somefun highly praised the resilience of the rice farmers despite several challenges, especially insecurity and urged the beneficiaries of this season’s Intervention Programme to “utilize the inputs judiciously for the farming purpose which is aimed at actualizing the Federal Government’s goal of attaining food sufficiency, diversifying the economy away from oil poverty reduction and creation of jobs for the teeming youth”.
MD/CEO Unity Bank, Tomi Somefun
The Unity bank CEO who was represented by the Regional Manager, Abuja and North Central, Michael Akerele, also challenged the rice farmers to demonstrate commitment to the CBN’s intervention programme by repaying their loans promptly for the sustainability of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, adding that the Bank has supported over 642,860 smallholder farmers across 35 states of the federation since 2017 when the ABP started.
“Specifically, on rice production, Unity Bank’s strategic partnership with RIFAN in 2018 witnessed the financing of about 273,000 smallholder farmers across 33 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, which was the largest single-ticket transaction for that year.” Somefun noted.
“In 2020, additional funding was granted to finance additional 221,450 smallholder farmers of the association across the 32 states of the federation including the FCT for the wet season and additional 300,000 hectares will be financed in 16 states for 2020 dry season cropping season,” she added.
It will be recalled that Unity Bank in 2019 received presidential commendations and an Award of Recognition by ABP.