Citibank Nigeria Limited has extended N4bn ($10m) financing to Babban Gona Farmer Services Nigeria Limited to support input credit and harvest advances to smallholder farmers in northern Nigeria.
This transaction will enable 41,000 smallholder farmers to increase their farming income by 350 per cent/hectare, thus contributing to more economic opportunities in fragile communities.
A statement by the Managing Director and Co-Founder, Babban Gona, Kola Masha, was quoted as saying, “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’’.
“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.”
Citibank’s loan is part of the scaling enterprise facility, its partnership with the United States International Development Finance Corporation and the Ford Foundation which fosters earlier stage, innovative and inclusive businesses in emerging markets to access local currencies.
According to another statement, CEO-Citibank Nigeria Limited Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, was quoted as saying, “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. Babban Gona’s track record and unique business model renders it a partner of choice for scaling positive impact and enabling progress in Nigeria.”
The Director, Citi Social Finance, Eugene Amusin, also said, “Babban Gona creates jobs that promote economic opportunity and stability in underserved communities across Nigeria”
“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 10million women by 2025.”
The Vice President, DFC’s Office of Development Credit, Jim Polan, said. “This 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,” said Jim Polan, Vice President of DFC’s Office of Development Credit. “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.”
“We are proud to support Babban Gona to bring much-needed solutions to smallholder farmers across Nigeria,” said Christine Looney, deputy director of Mission Investments for the Ford Foundation.
“This is a critical expansion of financial services that will provide economic resources for individual farmers alongside the communities they serve,” he said.
Babban Gona has cumulatively supported over 280,000 smallholder farmers and provided them with nearly $200m in loans. It has grown to become the single largest maize producing entity in Africa, farming over 170,000 acres of land this season, providing enough food to feed every man, woman, and child in Nigeria for nearly two weeks.