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LCFE, Heritage Bank Partner On Wheat Production Investment

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belloLCFE is in partnership with Heritage Bank Plc to create a structure for trading on wheat contracts and its allied products, following the ongoing intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to position the country as a net exporter of wheat.

Already, the apex bank’s intervention to address the perennial imbalances in wheat production in Nigeria, has led to its disbursement of N41 billion to Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs), including Heritage Bank for production of quality wheat through accredited Anchor borrowers.

Speaking to members of the Commodity Ecosystem Operators at the weekend in Lagos, the managing director, LCFE, Mr Akin Akeredolu-Ale explained that the Exchange’s primary function was to create a structured platform for fungible tradable instruments that are de-risked by way of forward contracts through commodities products in agriculture, mineral resources, oil, and gas where issuers can also write an array of contracts.

He commended the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the current initiative on wheat production and creation of enabling environment for development of the commodities ecosystem respectively.

“LCFE is delighted to have a partner in Heritage Bank for the development of the Commodities Ecosystem. We are committed to partnering with the bank to develop the wheat value chains by aggregating farmers, their commodities, and data for the overall development of the wheat Value Chain. Our involvement is in the primary input. The Exchange would continue to provide the necessary support to Heritage Bank through the alignment of various stakeholders and partners,” said Akeredolu-Ale.

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The former executive director, Lake Chad Institute of Research, Dr Oluwasina Olabanji lamented that Nigeria spent $2 billion annually on wheat importation due to insufficiency in commercial quantities and poor quality of primary input.

According to him, given the diverse uses of wheat, any country that lacks capacity to produce the commodity for consumption and sales is bound to face balance in trade challenges.

He however expressed optimism that the apex bank’s intervention would address the challenges facing wheat production, boost investment opportunities in Agriculture, enhance foreign exchange earnings and provide jobs for the country’s teeming unemployed youths.

The divisional head, Agribusiness, Natural Resources and Project Management, Heritage Bank, Mr Olugbenga Awe stated that the bank was committed to promoting development of agricultural value chains in Nigeria, saying the Bank’s involvement in the sector dated back to many years ago and it has always been at the forefront of ensuring overall growth and development of commodities products in Nigeria.

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According to him, we are glad to work with LCFE to ensure its sustainability and deepen investment opportunities in agricultural commodities, solid minerals and energy space

“Heritage Bank will expand its footprints to other commodity value chain during the next planting season and the bank is currently evaluating and reviewing expressions of interest from interested parties.”

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