Diamond Bank invests in agriculture, focuses on female farmers
Diamond Bank said it has provided improved access to finance through key considerations into its pricing, products, underwriting processes and marketing strategies with more than N100 billion disbursed to over 400 agribusiness across the various nodes of the agricultural value chain in the last five years.
Head, AgricFinance, Diamond Bank, Lois Sankey, stated that the bank is very passionate about growing and driving financial inclusion through proven agricultural value chain financing models especially in the rural areas.
“The programme we are currently working on, the Rice Anchor Borrower Programme has direct impact on financial inclusion and rural financing and we have N2.5 billion as portfolio exposure appetite to this programme alone. That is a lot of commitment considering that the cost of production per hectare is a mere N178, 000” Sankey stated.
According to her, Diamond Bank is leveraging its partnership with USAIDMARKETS2 and other agencies on the project to support and Improve capacity and livelihoods of small holder rice farmers in target states across Nigeria.
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Diamond Bank also said it is focusing on female farmers by providing free technical training and financial grants to rural women involved in agriculture. The initiative which is called Beta Life for Female Farmers is aimed at empowering female farmers across the 36 states of the country and reducing poverty level.
Chief spokesperson, Diamond Bank, Ayona Trimnell, stated that the bank’s strategic move to help female farmers in the rural areas improve their crop yields and farming method is rooted on the fact that increased farm yield by women can significantly help in reducing the current food gap.
“Women form a large pool of farmers in the country today and they contribute significantly in the food production basket. But they are hardly considered when measures for increased yields are being introduced by either the government or other investors. We believe that if women farmers are fortified with the necessary knowledge on how to improve their yields and have access to funds, they will do well and the food import bill will reduce significantly,” Ayona stated.
According to her, the primary aim of the Diamond Bank female farmers’ project is to help engender improved quality of life for women farmers in Nigeria through business funding, education and technical support on agronomic practices and training on financial management.
This intervention forms part of the bank’s Women’s Wealth and Well-being Initiative which has three main objectives including empowering women economically especially in the area of agric business, providing basic health care education and services to women in rural areas, leading to improved productivity, growth and value addition of women in the cassava value chain.