Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Unity Bank Plc, Tomi Somefun, has revealed that the bank will provide additional funding to no fewer than 120,000 smallholder maize farmers in the 2021 wet season farming in the country. This was revealed during the unveiling of the National Maize Pyramids and flag-off of wet season farming programmes held in Katsina State by the Maize Association of Nigeria, MAAN.
Represented by head of agribusiness for Unity Bank, Patricia Chinwe, Ahunanya, Somefun explained that the move is “in furtherance of the bank’s commitment towards supporting maize farmers” in Nigeria. The partnership with MAAN began in 2019, with 37,182 farmers, while 70,604 farmers received financing in 2020. Somefun noted that the bank would continue to make notable investments into the sector, seeing that agriculture contributes over 26 percent to Nigeria’s GDP and employs about 50% of Nigerians in the rural areas. This is in line with the Federal Government’s quest to attain food sufficiency, diversify the economy, reduce poverty, and create jobs for the youth.
The National President of MAAN, Abubakar Bello, revealed that the organization has over 50,000 bags of maize in the pyramid, which will contribute significantly to Nigeria’s strategic grain reserves. Bello stated the associations commitment to continue to meet the financial obligations needed to sustain the drive to increase maize production in the 2021 wet season farming.