Bank Pledges Digitised Payment Solutions For Farmers
Nigeria’s pioneer payment service bank, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) says it is committed to growing Nigeria’s agriculture value chain by supporting payment needs of farmers through accessible, easy and inclusive payment solutions.
Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Branka Mracajac, who gave the assurance recently while speaking at the Vanguard Economic Forum Series, held in Lagos, identified funding and digitisation as solutions to Nigeria’s agriculture development challenges.
In a keynote address titled, “Digitizing Payment & Agricultural Value Chain Financing for Small Holder and Commercial Farmers”, she said the solution to solving Nigeria’s agriculture value chain is two-fold: the need to increase funding for Agribusiness, and to digitise payments in the agriculture value chain.
Mracajac said, while there are ongoing efforts to solidify the country’s financial inclusion mandate, it is important to speed up actions on addressing the gap on financial literacy.
“Although, there is an increase in the uptake of digital financial products and payment platforms in Nigeria, the fact remains that most farmers in rural Nigeria are unbanked and have little or no access to formal financial services, including adequate information on the most basic elements of financial concepts”, she said.
Noting challenges warranted by lack of digital access to the farmer, she explained that, ‘’If you therefore visit the yam and garri market at Iseyin, in Oyo State, where, for instance, there is a hub of these small-scale farmers, you will discover that a lot of the payments for farm produce and other services are cash transactions.
“People travel from major Southwest cities carrying heavy cash for their goods, because the farmer from whom they buy the products does not accept or understand or trust digital modes of payment”, she stated.
She stressed further the need for collaboration among stakeholders to create solutions that would enhance the agricultural value chain in Nigeria, saying that “9PSB is particularly invested in strategic partnerships and collaboration that enables accessible, seamless, efficient and an inclusive financial service for all”.
Also speaking, the Co-Chair, Comms Sub-Committee, UN Food Systems Summit Nigeria Cohort, Richard Mark Mbaram, noted that in solving food security issues, there is need to integrate smart solutions.
“If we are looking at achieving a world free of hunger by 2030, then we need to aggressively look into improving the capacity and productivity of farmers as well as expanding the market frontiers to make the agribusiness viable and attractive”, he said.
On his part, the Vice President, Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere, spoke about creating an environment where Nigerian farmers would be able to partake in the global agric export trade.
According to him, the need has arisen to “emphasise smart agriculture and mechanised farming to enable farmers overcome the natural encumbrances that come with the business in terms of storage, farm implements, seedlings, fertilisers, quality of produce etc”.
At the end of the day, all the speakers at the Summit agreed that there must be a cross sectoral collaborative effort consisting of grassroots actions and initiatives that will create an ecosystem to reduce transactional cost, improve efficient cash management, accountability and transparency, drive financial footprints for end-stage beneficiaries, while providing them with access to the financial ecosystem and improving information for credit scoring.