In its determination to deliver on its promised commitment to the sustenance, growth and development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector , Heritage Bank Plc, is currently funding various agricultural projects in several states of the country, especially in Oyo, Kaduna and Zamfara states, as stated by its Divisional Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Fela Ibidapo. According to Mr. Ibidapo, the Bank is also supporting an agro-investor known as, Triton Aqua Africa Limited (TAAL), with a N2 billion facility in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS).
The facility will enable TAAL to establish a fish production chain in Lagos, Oyo and Osun states. Mr. Ibidapo also stated that this support to the agro-investor became essential after research showed that Nigerians consume about 2.7 million metric tonnes of fish yearly compared to the paltry 800,000 metric tonnes of fish that is produced locally every year. This has resulted to the country relying on importation to increase the shortfall with an estimated cost implication of about $700 million yearly in foreign exchange. The partnership between Heritage Bank and TAAL would help reverse this trend, while the firm uses the facility to expand its aquaculture businesses by setting up a hatchery for the production of fingerlings and brood stock as well as earthen ponds for catfish and tilapia in the three states.
This partnership will also help to boost local production, conserve scarce foreign exchange, improve food security, as well as lead to the creation of several new jobs.