About two years after Heritage Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disbursed a N2 billion loan processing facility to Triton fish/chicken in Oyo state, the firm has now begun exporting all kinds of frozen foods to Europe and African countries.
This act by Heritage Bank stemmed out as part of efforts to invest in and support the real sector, boost foreign exchange, unlock food as well as wealth creating potential in the nation’s agribusiness industry.
Consequently, the N2BN loan has successfully boosted the production of Triton’s fish/chicken in Oyo and sold as BIG SAMS in Poland, Romania, Egypt, Liberia and Ivory Coast among others.
The loan was given under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) in 2017. Triton Farm, also known as TAAL, accessed the CACS through Heritage Bank to set up aquaculture businesses- nursery/hatchery for the production of fingerlings and brood stock in Ikeja; and earthen ponds for catfish and tilapia in Asejire, Iwo and Gambari towns in Oyo State.
The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, revealed that the bank partnership with Triton Farm local production will conserve scarce foreign exchange and enhance food security.
Ifie Sekibo, who was represented by the Group Head, Agriculture Finance unit of the Bank, Olugbenga Awe, stressed that Heritage Bank’s support for small-scale enterprises is well known and most of these SMEs play in the agriculture sector.
He said, “Nigeria’s current demand capacity for fish is estimated at 2.7million metric tonnes and the country currently produces 800,000 metric tonnes.
Triton is now producing 25,000 metric tonnes and with them on board, about 25,000 metric tonnes capacity will be added to our current production, the company’s projection is to reach 100,000 metric tons in five years,” he said.
Ifie Sekibo further added that the bank sees agriculture as one of its heritage as it seeks to empower individuals and communities in terms of creating wealth from the soil and through the entire value –chain using value addition and industrialisation.
“We are also focused on small holder farmers as we currently support thousands of farmers in Kaduna and Zamfara states in rice and soybeans production under the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
“We are also targeting the youth that are interested in agriculture through our partnership with CBN on Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme,” he assured.
Meanwhile, during a tour at the farm in 2017, Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, commended the bank, stating that the CBN and Heritage Banks’ financial support to Tritan’s achievement was very fundamental as investment in food security was probably the most profitable venture anyone could think of.
He however, said that Nigeria has a deficit of over two million metric tonnes of poultry produce, and over three million metric tonnes deficit in fish farming products, adding that the agro-production deficits show huge investment potential in the sector.
The Chairman, Triton Group, Ashvin Samtani, said the farm was fully integrated in aquaculture, poultry and crop production and is a platform to create employment for teeming youth.
“Triton Farm is designed to train youth in agriculture and create employment, as well as generate wealth. This is the only farm in the whole region that is fully integrated in aquaculture, poultry and crop production,” he stated
The company’s strategy is to embrace backward integration through production of fish locally and reduce its importation of frozen fish, as well as assist small scale farms by producing quality breed fingerlings.