From: AgroNature Admin
As part of efforts to increase lending to farmers, the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and SunTrust Bank (STB) Nigeria Limited on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The pact is expected to provide finance to farmers through an E-Wallet or credit card system and further develop the nation’s agricultural sector.
While the BoA provides the funds, STB releases the credit to farmers nationwide through the ATM card to be issued to the farmers.
Speaking at the MoU signing at Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Agriculture Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed that the sector can never grow when farmers are charged double digits interest rates.
He lamented that for about 30 years, commercial banks in the country have refused to fund the sector until the emergence of NIRSAL which stands as guarantee for the farmers.
Ogbeh noted that the Federal Government had restructured BoA in such a way that agricultural lending would be easily repaid, said the Information Technology (IT) services to be rendered by SunTrust Bank, would assist the BoA to reach its customers.
His words: “There is no way any country can survive with 18 per cent interest rate and people need to feed well.
“I think BoA and our farmers will enjoy this partnership.”
In his remarks, the Managing Director of BoA, Mr. Kabir Mohammed, stated that the collaboration would enable the bank reach and render quality services to its numerous farmers and customers across various communities.
According to Kabir, with about 140 branches we have currently across the country, there is need for us to collaborate with a commercial bank that can provide services that will reach our customers.
“This is the era of electronic business and we are limited by regulation, we cannot issue cheque books on our own, we cannot issue ATM cards directly, we need to go through a commercial bank.
“Farmers will now be able to use ATM cards to access funds and our corporate customers will now have access to cheque books,’’ he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of SunTrust Bank, Mr. Muhammad Jibrin, said the bank would provide Information Technology Services to the BoA to ensure access to their customers in the remote areas.
“We are in the digital age so reaching people is actually by digital means. Our systems are up and running.
“Some BoA customers don’t have access to bank services. The places that don’t have access to technology, the farmers can operate their accounts through their phones,’’ he stated.