The Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN), a private sector-led agricultural financing project initiated by the Federal Government, has increased to 66 million U.S. dollars in June this year.
Dr Olukayode Oyeleye, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, made this known via a statement in Abuja.
The statement said that FAFIN, which was launched in 2014 with 32.8 million dollars, provided financial, capacity building and technical assistance to selected Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the agribusiness sector.
It said that the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Dutch Good Growth Fund (managed by Triple Jump) and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) had committed 31 million dollars to the fund.
It also said that the German Development Bank (KfW) offered to increase its commitment to FAFIN by an additional 10 million dollars, thereby increasing the fund to 76 million dollars by December.
“The fund has created over 500 new jobs, while improving the lives of over 1,000 smallholder farmers and their families,’’ the statement said.
It said that 50 per cent of women and youths were engaged to support innovative business incentives and out‐grower schemes.
The statement however, quoted Ogbeh as expressing delight over the increase of the fund.
It said that the minister pledged the Federal Government’s commitment toward the development of the fund and the agriculture sector.
“Although key developments in the sector will continually be private sector‐driven, the Federal Government will provide the necessary incentives to grow the sector”, he said.
“This growth will be achieved through facilitating finance and support for small to medium scale enterprises through investment vehicles such as FAFIN,’’ Ogbeh noted.
FAFIN is an innovative agriculture investment fund co-sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
The fund targets a fund size of 100 million dollars to affect small and medium enterprises across the agricultural value chain in Nigeria, including input providers, producers, processors, distributors and retailers.
Its major goal is to generate competitive financial returns for its investors, thereby demonstrating the commercial viability of agricultural finance in the country and attracting additional finance to the sector.
Sahel Capital, a leading fund manager and advisory firm with a focus on private equity, financial advisory, management consulting and agribusiness, was engaged to manage FAFIN.