Sterling Bank Plc has partnered foremost humanitarian group, Mercy Corps, to train 90,000 farmers on bespoke agricultural practices, through a programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Tagged “Feed The Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity”, the programme will span five years and is also an off-shoot of the USAID ‘Feed the Future’ project.
The USAID had launched the Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment activity to nurture a business-enabling environment that promotes private sector investment in agriculture, in 2019.
The five-year program, worth $15.7 million was projected to reach at least 5,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) thereby expanding opportunities for agribusiness borrowers and lenders.
Country Director at Mercy Corps Nigeria, Ndubuisi Anyanwu, said the USAID’s Feed The Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity became necessary considering the need to support critical sectors and stakeholders in parts of Nigeria as the international organisation had done in other countries of the world.
On the partnership with Sterling Bank, he added that the group had decided on a collaboration with the bank, owing to the latter’s commitment and expertise in financing the agriculture sector.
Group Head, Agriculture, and Solid Mineral Finance, Sterling Bank, Bukola Awosanya, corroborated the former’s submission.
According to her, the partnership became imperative, seeing that there is a need to help chart the country on its way to economic recovery and food sufficiency.
She said, “Our commitment to critical sectors: Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation (HEART) has brought together our collaboration with Mercy Corps Nigeria.
“We are excited about how this programme will impact not only agribusiness in the country but also the lives of the beneficiaries.
“Agriculture is pivotal to our strategy as a financial institution. It had been clear to us before now that Nigeria will only prosper when we place priority on core areas of our national life.
“We have remained faithful to this strategy for years and this MOU represents an expression of our faith in the agribusiness value chain as well as its place in economic recovery and development.”