The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) is spearheading the early distribution of input packages for rice and tomatoes to thousands of smallholder farmers in various states of the country. The distribution is being handled under the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
NIRSAL is driving this process in its capacity as a Participating Financial Institution (PFI) under the ABP, which is part of the agricultural transformation initiatives of President Buhari’s administration but championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
At the recent flag-off of input distribution to thousands of farmers in Sokoto, MD/CEO of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed stated that NIRSAL’s mandate to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty through agriculture informs its commitment to the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. “Ensuring food security and creating jobs in the country is our goal,” Abdulhameed who was represented at the event by NIRSAL Head of Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Office (PMRO) said.
According to him, the ABP is structured to provide a strong springboard for food security and wealth creation through offtake market-linked commercial agricultural production by smallholder farmers.
NIRSAL has already launched Dry Season input supply in various states over the last two weeks and will continue with the input supply distribution this week in Gombe, Jigawa, Taraba and Kano States.
The institution hopes, in the coming weeks, to move the ABP input distribution to Anambra, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ondo and Zamfara States, where cassava, maize, cocoa, rice and poultry farmers will also receive input supplies ahead of the early Wet Season.
It was gathered that this new approach of very early season and on- time Input supply system was proposed by NIRSAL to the CBN and was expeditiously approved by the Governor Godwin Emefiele of the CBN, thus breaking the jinx of late season Input supply as was being previously experienced by farmers
Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Sokoto State Chapter, Ibrahim Salihu, noted that the new system of very early input supply and timely distribution, would provide farmers early head start for the season thus giving them sufficient time to anticipate and exert control over field risk events.
“We hope that this early input supply system is concluded soon so that the majority of rice farmers receive inputs by the end of February,” he added.
NIRSAL reported that 3000 rice farmers, who have benefited from the ABP input distribution so far, are set to plant this February and hope for high yields at harvest time.
Dauda Iliyasu, a rice farmer from Taka Kune, Goronyo LGA, Sokoto said “We are happy to receive these inputs especially early in the year. This is the first time farmers in Goronyo LGA will benefit from government intervention”.
He added that “in the past, we could not farm rice during the dry season, but now with the help of NIRSAL, we are not afraid to plant rice in the dry season, because we have received water pumps, fertilizers and good seeds to do dry season farming.” Other farmers affirmed that they expect a bumper harvest early in June.
The inputs being distributed to rice farmers at the moment include seeds, crop protection products, NPK & urea fertilizers, knapsack sprayers, petrol water pumps and mechanization services.