The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) announced on Wednesday that it is empowering 475 female farmers in Uyo for cassava production during the 2020 wet season farming, in line with its convinction on all-inclusive growth across the country.
The company also said it has so far supported some 2,872 farmers in the South-south region of the country.
The support came under NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative (AGC) model, which structures farmers into groups to enable them better benefit from the programme and increase yields.
The 475 female farmers, organized under the Uyo Women Agro Geo-Cooperative were trained on Good Agronomic Practices and received various inputs for their use, NIRSAL said in a statement.
In addition, all 478 hectares of land will be mechanized throughout the planting season to enhance yields & profits and eliminate the drudgery of farming with crude implements.
The women will equally receive finance through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) for which NIRSAL is playing a critical role as a Participating Financial Institution (PFI) to help Government meet its developmental and economic diversification goals.
NIRSAL flagged-off the distribution of inputs to the farmers during a ceremony held at Anang People Primary School, Obio Ndot, Oruk Anam LGA of Akwa Ibom State.
At the event, Theresa Thompson Akpan, President of the Uyo Women AGC, described the CBN’s support through NIRSAL as a milestone in enhancing cassava production in the state.
She tasked farmers under the Uyo Women AGC to embrace NIRSAL’s approach of farming as a business in order to move from peasant farming to sustainable agribusiness. She also commended NIRSAL for harnessing the female farmers’ potential and for its continued support of agribusiness in Akwa Ibom State.
The event in Akwa Ibom was part of NIRSAL’s regional and nationwide support for farmers under the CBN’s ABP.
A total of 2,872 rice, maize and cassava farmers from different groups, including, Uyo Women AGC, Pemo Anegbette AGC, Upalibuisi AGC, Southern Basin AGC, Integrated AGC, Ijeoma Aibiokula AGC, Green Money Initiative AGC and God’s Own AGC are receiving NIRSAL’s support in the South-South states of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta while a total of 44,670 farmers cultivating on 68,771 hectares of land are benefiting nationwide.
Aliyu Abdulhameed, NIRSAL Managing Director/CEO, noted that the support of Uyo Women AGC will not only empower the 475 farmers of the AGC but will create jobs for many families in the community, thereby achieving the organization’s mission of forging partnerships between finance and agriculture while achieving food security, creating jobs and spurring economic growth.
Represented by Helen Akula, Head of NIRSAL Akwa Ibom State Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Office (PMRO), Abdulhameed added that through the ABP, the farmers’ door to commercial financing has been unlocked, thereby paving the way for a better-quality life.
“The input you received today is not a grant but a loan that must be paid back for other farmers to also benefit from. I have faith in you all that together as a team every kobo will be repaid with ample profit left in the bank for you to enjoy the fruits of your labour,” he, however, reminded the farmers.
Also speaking at the event, Desmond Ushe, Acting Head of the CBN’s Akwa Ibom State Development Finance Office, noted that with the integration of NIRSAL’s AGC concept, risks will be reduced significantly, and the participation of farmers in the ABP will be boosted.
Ushe solicited for sincerity and commitment from the farmers to match that of Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, whom he said had demonstrated utmost passion for the ABP and for economic growth through agriculture.