Sterling Bank partners commodity exchange to end $9bn post-harvest losses Business

In a strategic effort to guarantee food security in Nigeria, Sterling Bank Plc has partnered a commodity exchange called AFEX and a digital platform known as Binkabi to ensure farmers’ produce are moved to storage and sold as and when due to mitigate yearly losses put at $9 billion by the World Bank. The fusion of the three companies gave birth to a product called SABEX.

Abubakar Suleiman, the Managing Director of the bank made the disclosure in Abuja at the weekend.

According to him, the bank understood the importance of agriculture to the diversification of the economy, saying that was why it had committed about N55bn in the last seven years to the sector.

He said the partnership will help strengthen the agriculture value chain by ensuring farmers access financing to boost their businesses.

He added that the farmers can also widen their production base as the fear of post-harvest losses, which usually discouraged them from expanding their frontiers, has been substantially addressed by SABEX.

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He said: “The bank went into partnership with AFEX commodities exchange and digital platform called Binkabi, which is based on block chain operations. What they have delivered is a way to decentralise commodity trading and reduce intermediation in trade, while distributing profits more widely across the value chain. The platform will be able to tokenise commodities and cash, so that the two can be exchanged instantly irrespective of where the farmer is located.

“Based on that, they can access financial services like bank loan either to buy inputs, sell when the time is right or essentially continue to live their lives.

“To get on the platform, prospective players have to link their bank accounts with Sterling Bank, or any other partner banks. They will be directed to provide some more details about themselves and their businesses before they can start trading.

“The biggest gain is avoiding the post-harvest losses farmers usually suffer because farmers are compelled to sell their produce cheaply and immediately after harvest”, he explained.

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Suleiman added that the bank had also moved its intervention in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme from rice to other commodities.

He said there are other special funds the bank has put together for lending to farmers.

“There is also the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) guarantee scheme, which allows the bank to lend to farmers because of the special guarantee on the loan, irrespective of where the farmer is, or whether he is buying input, like fertilisers, tractors or equipment”, he noted.

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