About 500,000 farmers and vulnerable people in Nigeria’s North-East zone can now access farming friendly and demand-driven financial services. It is the result of First City Monument Bank’s (FCMB) partnership with Mercy Corps, a frontline international aid organisation.
A bold and landmark intervention, the partnership supported by USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, will deliver funding and capacity-building support to smallholder farmers and vulnerable people living in the conflict-affected states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe.
The Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity aims to facilitate and promote economic recovery and growth in the vulnerable, conflict-affected areas and sustainably move people out of chronic vulnerability and poverty through expanded opportunities.
Speaking during the MoU signing ceremony on August 25, 2021, in Lagos, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mrs Yemisi Edun, expressed appreciation to Mercy Corps and other partners for confidence in the Bank’s capability to drive the initiative successfully.
According to her: “We are delighted to play another crucial role in developing our local communities and society at large. This partnership will significantly improve the living standards of farmers and other vulnerable people by boosting food sufficiency and reducing poverty. It will also de-escalate insecurity in the North-East. All of these align with FCMB’s commitment to creating opportunities for individuals and businesses to attain their growth potential.”
Also speaking, the Country Director of Mercy Corps Nigeria, Mr Ndubisi Anyanwu, said: “We are extremely proud to be supporting initiatives that drive recovery and increase investment in North-East Nigeria. Mercy Corps has been working in the nexus as an Agency, implementing several programs that aim to sustainably transition people in conflict-affected areas out of humanitarian assistance to recovery through development”.
The Chief of Party, Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, Mrs Margarita Aswani said, “We are delighted that this partnership will enable FCMB to adapt its loan products and offerings to fit the context in North-East Nigeria. It will empower farmers, small ruminant producers, and microenterprise owners to grow their businesses and increase yields. The Activity, proudly aims to facilitate access to national and international technical expertise to support FCMB’s strategies for expanding to new and emerging agricultural markets in North-East Nigeria.”
The FCMB and Mercy Corps intervention targets smallholder farmers and micro-enterprises working in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors with a particular interest in young people and women. The scope covers maize, cowpea, groundnuts, rice production, and animal husbandry. Beneficiaries will also have access to agricultural inputs, financial services, and literacy programmes.
FCMB (www.fcmb.com) will introduce smallholder farmers and micro-enterprises in the North-East to bespoke financial services, particularly credit, savings, insurance, and payment platforms. In addition, the Bank will deploy loan products that include Easy Club, SME Development Finance Facility, SME Assets Finance Facility, SME Working Capital Facility, SME Invoice Discounting Facility and E Don Beta, to enable the farmers have adequate opportunities that would enhance their productivity as required by the Rural Resilience Activity initiative.
The Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity will also build the capacity of smallholder farmers and SMEs to improve their technical, business management and soft skills through technical and enterprise development training and information from its team of experts.