Citibank Nigeria Limited has extended N4 billion ($10 million) financing to Babban Gona Farmer Services Nigeria Limited to support input credit and harvest advance to smallholder farmers in northern Nigeria.
In a statement by the bank’s country Head of Public Affairs (Nigeria & Ghana), Lola Oyeka, the bank said the transaction will enable 41,000 smallholder farmers to increase their farming income by 350 per cent per hectare, thus contributing to improved economic opportunity in fragile communities.
“The loan is part of the Scaling Enterprise facility, a Citi partnership with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Ford Foundation that enables earlier stage, innovative and inclusive businesses in emerging markets to access local currencies,” the statement read.
Founded in 2012, Babban Gona is an agrotech company that specialises in the provision of end-to-end value chain services to smallholder farmers including inputs, credit, advisory and offtake across Nigeria.
Kola Masha, Babban Gona co-founder and managing director, was quoted to have said, “Babban Gona aims to be the highest impact organization on the agricultural landscape in Africa by supporting our members to generate enough income to improve their livelihoods, education, nutrition and health.”
Mr Masha said with the support of our partners, like Citibank, Babban Gona has consistently made farming more profitable for tens of thousands of smallholders across Nigeria where we have improved their net income and agricultural productivity to 2X the national average.
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, Citibank chief executive officer, said: “We are pleased to partner with global development agencies and partners, such as DFC and the Ford Foundation, in the structuring of a pioneering social finance facility aimed at sustaining the Nigerian agricultural sector.”
Mr Samuel-Ogbu said Babban Gona’s track record and unique business model renders it a partner of choice for scaling positive impact and enabling progress in Nigeria.
According to the statement, the transaction, which is part of Citibank’s $1 trillion commitment to sustainable finance by 2030, contributes to progress on several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including; Goal 1, which aims to eliminate poverty; Goal 2, which aims to eliminate hunger, and Goal 8, in support of expanding decent work and economic growth.
“Babban Gona creates jobs that promote economic opportunity and stability in underserved communities across Nigeria,” said Eugene Amusin, Director, Citibank’s Social Finance.
Ms Amusin said, “This transaction exemplifies Citi’s dedication to driving positive social impact in emerging markets and is part of our commitment to invest in opportunities for 15 million households, including 10 million women by 2025.”
Jim Polan, vice president, DFCs office of Development Credit, said “DFC’s investment in Babban Gona will help grow Nigeria’s agriculture sector, create new jobs, and increase food production and profit margins for farmers.
“The strong partnership between DFC and Citi enables us to provide early-stage financing to innovative businesses like Babban Gona, making a development impact in Nigeria and around the world,” he said.
Also, Christine Looney, deputy director of Mission Investments for the Ford Foundation said, “We are proud to support Babban Gona to bring much-needed solutions to smallholder farmers across Nigeria.”
“This is a critical expansion of financial services that will provide economic resources for individual farmers alongside the communities they serve,” the official added.
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