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CITIBANK ANNOUNCES MICRO LENDING FOR SMALL HOLDER FARMERS

By NBF News
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By BABAJIDE  KOMOLAFE
Citibank Nigeria has announced a capacity building and micro lending scheme for small holder farmers in Nigeria.

Managing Director/Chief Executive, Citibank Nigeria Mr. Emeka Emuwa announced the programmed  during the Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony.

During the award the bank honored fifteen Nigerian micro-entrepreneurs. The  2011 Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony held in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Growing Businesses Foundation (GBF).

The awards ceremony was held as part of CBN's Sixth Annual International Microfinance Conference which drew top government officials and dignitaries including the host, Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Arc. Namadi Sambo, who presided over the opening ceremony.

Others in attendance included six state governors and representatives from international development agencies.  In a goodwill message delivered at the ceremony,  Emuwa, highlighted Citi's various microfinance projects and investments around the world.

He said the bank has introduced a new agricultural initiative with Citi Foundation to provide capacity building, microfinance and linkage support to small holder farmers in Nigeria. The project, Citi Microenterprise Development for Rural Farmers Initiative (CMDRFI), will kick off with a pilot scheme for small farmers in Gagbasawa LGA in Kano state later this year.

The project was developed in partnership with Growing Businesses Foundation, Kano State Agricultural Development Agency and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, with the Central Bank's development finance department providing consultation and guidance.

In his speech Mr. Emuwa stated, 'We believe that the outcome of the pilot scheme in Kano will enable us create a model that can be replicated across several local governments and states in the country. We will continue to work with our partners to explore ways we can bring our global knowledge and expertise to bear in this strategic sector of the Nigerian economy.'

At the awards ceremony, cash prizes were handed out in five major categories - Best Micro Business Model, Most Marketed Product, Most Innovative Product, Employment Generation and Best Female Entrepreneur .