Business and Economy

FCMB partners with Mercy Corps on Rural Resilient Activity in the North East

FCMB has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mercy Corps on Rural Resilient Activity in the North East of the Country. Mercy Corps are the implementers of the USAID sponsored Feed The Future Nigeria Rural Resilient Activity aimed at helping the North East achieve economic recovery and growth.

The program which held at the corporate head quarters of the bank in Lagos had in attendance Yemisi Edun – Managing Director / CEO, First City Monument Bank and Ndubisi Anyanwu – Country Director, Mercy Corps Nigeria, Margarita Aswani, Chief of party,  Mark Akpan, Financial Services Specialist, Mercy Corps, Chimaobi Agwu, Director Deva Access, Kudzai Gumunyu, DH – Agribusiness, FCMB, Mustapha Lukeman, DH – Commercial & Business Division, amongst others.

The Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilient Activity is a five year USAID funded program under the global Feed the Future program implemented by Mercy Corps, with support from International Fertilizer Development Company (IFDC) and Save the Children (SCI) across the States of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe States in the North East and Kebbi, Benue, Niger Sates and the FCT in the North Central of the Country.

The Rural Resilient Activity will facilitate economic recovery and growth in vulnerable, conflict affected areas by promoting systemic change in market systems. The Activity selected rice, maize, cowpea, groundnut, small ruminants, and small to medium enterprises SMEs market systems, and will strengthen resilience capacities using market led approaches, sustainably moving over 600,000 households out of chronic vulnerability and poverty

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Kudzai Gumunyu, the Divisional Head – Agribusiness at FCMB said, “we at FCMB believe we are on to something great that is going to impact smallholder farmers. Our CEO has a vision of raising 5 million small holder farmers out of poverty by year 2025 and financial inclusion is one of the main strategies that is going to be used to achieve that”.

“In FCMB we believe that we can lift people out of poverty while we also are making returns out of that effort. And when you do that it becomes sustainable. It is something that will change the face of agriculture in Nigeria. We as a bank have achieved quite a lot in this space through partnerships with several organizations. This agreement will help the bank and Mercy Corps achieve their goals and we believe this is the start of many good things”.

The Country Director of Mercy Corps Nigeria, Mr. Ndubisi Anyanwu, stated that “the mission of Mercy Corps in Nigeria is to contribute to a Nigeria that is engaged, resilient and empowered” and that Mercy Corps is doing that through a couple of ways, working to address the root cause of conflict, address trust and accountability and empower youths as well.

“The reason why we are here is because we are working on market system innovation. In terms of reach 1.5 million beneficiaries have been reached so far since 2020 in the areas of education, sanitation, peace building and agricultural systems. This project aims to promote agriculture and economic growth while reducing vulnerabilities, hunger, poverty and conflicts”.

“Originally designed for the North East it is now expanding to some States in the North Central with increased support from donors. This partnership with FCMB will enable Mercy Corps expand reach in the agricultural sector. This MOU signing is one of like minds. It will enhance our collective goals in improving agricultural and economic productivities in the country”.

“It is a key milestones in the work that we do in Nigeria. The partnership will also avail financial services and financial inclusion to over 600,000 Small holder farmers and micro enterprises in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Borno, Niger, Kebbi, FCT, and Benue States”, he added.

In her speech at the event, the CEO of FCMB, Yemisi Edun, reiterated that the “goal of FCMB is to empower 5 million farmers out of poverty by year 2025”.

She added that FCMB is “proud to partner with Mercy Corps to achieve the laudable goals because at FCMB it’s all about shared values and opportunities. The signing of this MOU, she said, “represent another bold intervention by FCMB, Mercy Corps and it’s partners to provide a new lease of life for farmers and the vulnerable, especially women. We believe that it will also facilitate economic recovery and growth for conflict affected areas through expanded opportunities, by creating wealth, reducing poverty and boosting food sufficiency”

“We believe in FCMB that if we are able to solve issues around poverty, then by extension issues such as insecurity will also be resolved”.

“As a responsible financial institution, FCMB has consistently championed and executed several agricultural initiates by going the extra mile to deploy innovative and value added solutions . As at December 2020 our loan portfolio to the agricultural sector and its value chains  stood at N74.1 billion and is one of the highest in the Nigerian banking industry and now represents about 12 percent of our total loan portfolio”.

“As we solve the problem of poverty and food insecurity in the country, by extension other problems will be solved.   We have also supported several activities in the sector including the provision of funds to farmers to procure tractor and other equipment . So far we have supported over 100,000 farmers in Nigeria to boost food production”.

“We are Resilient and bold about this and as we partner with Mercy Corps we will be able to reach our goal. Following the signing of this MOU, we will ensure that the farmers have access to our world class financial services particularly savings, credit, pensions and insurance. In addition, we are set to deploy our unique products such as “e don better” to boost the productivity of farmers as required by the Rural Resilient Activity Program”, concluded the FCMB CEO.

On the goal of the Rural Resilient Activity, The Chief of Party of Feed the Future Rural Resilient Activity grogram in Nigeria, Margarita Aswani, said it “is to promote economic recovery, protect the vulnerable and drive financial investments into the regions. We are happy to support FCMB towards moving people out of poverty”.

One of the Rural Resilient Activity partners present during the signing ceremony, Mr. Agwu, C. J., representing Deva Access said that neglect of the rural areas is a major hindrance to National development and that it is of interest that FCMB is playing a key role in poverty alleviation and economic development of farmers and the rural areas of the country.

The Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilient Activity has to date funded a total of 11 different organizations under a matching grant system as partners towards the full implementation and sustainability of the program.

Through the partnership and MOU with FCMB, the program has succeeded in brining in a big player into the activity stream ensuring sustainability.

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