It is equally good business to lend to large-scale commercial farmers as it is to lend to smallholder farmers. This is what Clive Tasker, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Group’s operations in Africa, had to say in response to questions on how much of the bank’s portfolio goes to smallholders and large-scale farmers.
He was speaking as a member of a panel discussion at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) between bankers in Africa and development finance organisations.
The panel brought to focus projects and initiatives underway to de-risk the financial value chain in order to reduce the cost of finance for the smallholder farmer and increase access to financial products.
Clive said that when lending to smallholder farmers it is important to manage risks, saying “management of risks is the management of the whole value chain.” He listed among other things that Standard Bank Group insists that smallholder farmers take up insurance packages. He also said that the bank helps these farmers create a market for these products: “It is about full scale risk management of these farmers. We have a strong business plan to do it and we certainly have an obligation to do it.”
The session was chaired by Akin Adesina, Vice-president, Policy and Partnerships, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Other speakers on the panel included Mohammed Beavogui, Director of Western and Central Africa Division, IFAD, Yolande Duhem, Director for West and Central Africa, IFC, Arnold Ekpe, Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank and Jean-Louis Ekra, President of African Export and Import Bank.
Others included Strive Masiyiwa, Chief Executive Officer, Econet Wireless, James Meangi, Managing Director and CEO, Equity Bank Limited and Kingsley Moghalu, Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria.