NIRSAL empowers farmers to deepen Cotton, beans, ginger exports

The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) says it has empowered farmers and value chain actors across the country to improve production, processing, marketing, and export of ten agricultural commodities such as cotton, ginger, beans among others.

The agency said it has trained 780 farmers on modern, business-oriented pre-upstream, upstream, midstream, and downstream operations, which is also aimed at achieving the micro & macroeconomic effects of farmer income enhancement and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase.

According to a statement by the agency on Monday, the sessions took place in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and focused on ten Commodities of Interest (COI) that have ecological and economic advantages in each region.

The commodities include rice, ginger, maize, fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV), cassava, beans, aquaculture, oil palm, livestock, and cotton.

The statement informed that the series of training sessions held under the Strategic Business Support Services (SBSS), adding that it is a continuation of efforts targeted at achieving a key component of its mandate: de-risking of the agricultural value chain in order to encourage more investment in agribusiness by the financial sector.

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“The NIRSAL SBSS program identified farmers and value chain actors most in need of training, assessed value chain gaps, designed intervention approaches, and implemented the same; the main approach being a four-week long mentorship program comprising in-class and field sessions.

“The choice of the selected commodities was informed by the NIRSAL Agricultural Commodity Ecological Area (ACEA) map which it developed and obtained validation for from relevant research institutes. NIRSAL Plc believes that ACEA-compliant agricultural investments hold the highest chances for success in terms of production and sale”, the statement read.

According to the statement, in the North-Central, the Benue State SBSS focused on Rice, Ginger, and Maize, which are NIRSAL COIs that possess the highest factor productivity in the state.

In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the SBSS trained operators in the FFV Value Chain. The rationale for selecting FFV is hinged on the FCT’s urban consumer market. The training sessions took place in Kuje, Nyanya, Mararaba, Apo, Lugbe, the Municipal, Gwagwalada, Dei-Dei, and Abaji.

In the South-South, the Rivers State SBSS focused on FFVs as well, in addition to Aquaculture. Stakeholders were trained in Rumuola, Wenpey, Aluu, Enekah, Elekahia, Eleme, Mgbuoba, Elelenwo, Igwuruta, Eliozu, and Rumuodomaya.

In the South-East, the focus was on the Rice and Cassava Value Chains. Rice, a commodity produced in every Nigerian state, was also under focus in the Rivers State SBSS exercise.

Typical of States with large urban areas and high volumes of rainfall, another FFVs state is Lagos. Stakeholders were met in the Kosofe – Ikorodu, Iyana – Iba, and the Lekki – Ajah axes. In Ekiti State, across Ado-Ekiti, Orin Ekiti, Ijero, and Ogbese, Maize, Fish, Rice, and Oil Palm stakeholders, respectively, were met.

The nationwide SBSS exercise continued in the North-East with Adamawa and Taraba States for Integrated Livestock and Beans Value Chain actors, respectively.

The exercise culminated in Kaduna and Katsina States, both with comparative advantage in the production of high-quality, in-demand Ginger and Cotton, respectively. Value chain actors received training on the production and packaging, as well as on the servicing of not only the domestic market but also on ways to take advantage of an export market with huge economic potentials for Nigeria.

NIRSAL also disclosed that since its inception, it has provided training on Good Agronomic Practices to over 700,000 farmers and trained over 2,600 mid-management and Agric desk officers of commercial banks.

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