Nigeria’s pioneer and foremost Payment Service Bank, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) has committed to growing Nigeria’s agriculture value chain by supporting the payment needs of farmers, through accessible, easy and inclusive payment solutions.
The Chief Executive Officer, 9PSB, Branka Mracajac gave the assurance while speaking at the Vanguard Economic Forum Series, held on Thursday March 17, 2022 at The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Delivering a keynote presentation titled, “Digitizing Payment & Agricultural Value Chain Financing for Small Holder and Commercial Farmers”, Mracajac noted that the solution to solving the problem of the country’s agriculture value chain is two-pronged: the need to increase funding -which farmers have easy access to – for Agribusiness, and to digitise payments in the agriculture value chain.
According to her, 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. She said, “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.’’
Citing the challenges that lack of access poses to the farmer, she remarked, ‘’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.’’
Furthermore, Mracajac stressed the need for collaboration among stakeholders to create solutions that enhance the agricultural value chain in Nigeria, stating that 9PSB is particularly invested in strategic partnerships and collaboration that enables accessible, seamless, efficient and an inclusive financial service for all.
Also speaking at the event, Richard Mark Mbaram, Co-Chair, Comms Sub-Committee, UN Food Systems Summit Nigeria Cohort, noted that in solving food security issues, there is need to integrate smart solutions. Speaking further he said, “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”.
For his part, Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere, Vice President, Nigeria Agribusiness Group spoke about creating an environment where Nigerian farmers are 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.
Overall, the various 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.
Themed “Enhancing Nigeria’s Food Security in a Changing Climate and Digital Technology Environment,” the 2022 Economic Forum attracted industry players within the agribusiness and fintech ecosystem who gathered to discuss and proffer solutions to improving the country’s agriculture value chain business.