Sterling Bank Plc has won the Best Bank in Support of Agriculture Award at the Business Day Banking Awards 2017 held at the weekend in Lagos.
The award is in recognition of Sterling Bank’s peerless support to the entire value chain in the agriculture sector of the economy.
The awards, organized by Nigeria’s leading business newspaper, BusinessDay Nigeria, is regarded as the banking industry’s benchmark for outstanding performance. It was inaugurated in 2012 to recognise Nigerian banks that diligently managed their resources to attain a healthy balance between risk, safety and profitability.
Speaking on the award, Mr. Kayode Lawal, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking, Sterling Bank said “The bank’s commitment to the agriculture value chain aligns with the Federal Government’s current policy focus of diversifying the economy and re-positioning the agriculture sector to play a lead role in economic development.
“We are quite proud of our intervention in the agriculture value chain which is creating food security, stimulating job creation, while also enhancing the income of farmers in Bauchi, Abuja, Imo, Kebbi and Ogun, among other agrarian states in the country.”
On her part, Mrs. Bukola Awosanya, Group Head, Agric and Export, Sterling Bank, said “We are excited to be at the forefront of improving access to finance among farmers and uplifting agriculture from subsistence to commercial levels through the transformation of its value chain. Improved access to finance is boosting local food production, improving nutrition, fostering rural development and generating foreign exchange for the country.
She added that the bank, which also won the Agric Bank of the Year Award at the Nigeria Agriculture Awards (NAA) recently, supports the entire value chain in the agricultural sector from the farmers who are into production to input dealers, processors and transporters, among others.
Previously, the bank has consistently won awards that are related to the agriculture sector of the economy. For instance, Sterling Bank was recently named the Agric Bank of the Year (2017) at an event organized by the Nigeria Agriculture Awards Committee 2016/2017. The bank also won the Best Agric Finance Bank of the Year 2016 organised by the Zamfara branch of the CBN and Best Performing Bank under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS).
Sterling Bank was also named the Agric Bank of the year 2014 at an award organised by Agra Innovate. In line with its commitment to the development of the agriculture sector, Sterling Bank has the enviable record of being the first commercial bank to lend under the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) scheme.
The bank has also pioneered lending under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) and was part of the team that drafted the guidelines for the Agricultural Sector Sustainable Banking Principle for the Bankers Committee.
In addition, Sterling Bank has developed strategic partnerships with the World Bank, USAID, UK-DFID and other development finance institutions. Sterling Bank is also the pioneering bank to lend under the mechanization drive of Forum for Agriculture Risk Management in Development (FARMD).
Sterling Bank has successfully financed five states of Bauchi, Osun, Kwara, Ogun and Ondo states under Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACs) and the largest soya bean milling plant in Africa, Karma Milk, as well as one of the largest rice mills in Kebbi State, Labana Rice Mill.
It is also the first commercial bank to participate in CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme for small holder farmers in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna and Oyo states and partnered with development financial institutions such as DFID-PropCom and DFID-MADE.
Sterling Bank is currently in partnership with NIRSAL to finance about 22, 000 rice farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme in Kebbi State.