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NIRSAL facilitates N105bn across Nigeria’s Agricultural value chain

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The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System’s (NIRSAL), has since inception, facilitated over N105bn financing across the Pre-Upstream, Upstream, Midstream and Downstream segments of the Agricultural value chain in Nigeria from public and private sources.

The funding, according to NIRSAL which was created by the CBN to connect agriculture and financing has had a profound positive socio-economic impact, resulting in the creation of over 400,000 jobs and impacting 2 million lives positively.

The latest of of such impact was acknowledged by the rice, maize, cassava, sesame and soybean farmers in Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Benue states as well as the Federal Capital Territory, FCT who say they are now positioned for increased yields and improved livelihoods following NIRSAL support for their 2020 wet season farming activities under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).

The development comes following NIRSAL’s structuring of farmers in the FCT into 16 established Agro Geo-Cooperatives AGCs, 12 of which are included in the ABP for wet season 2020.

The AGC formation process is at the forefront of NIRSAL’s finance facilitation drive through which it is structuring farmers by creating 16,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives made up of 8 million farmers cultivating 4 million hectares of farmland.

To date, over 452 Agro Geo-Cooperatives covering over 270,000 hectares of land have benefitted from the process through the ABP, according to available information.

“As more AGCs develop around the territory and beyond, NIRSAL continues to provide trainings on bookkeeping & modern farming practices, mechanization for pre-planting, planting & harvesting activities and distribution of improved, high-yielding seed varieties,” NIRSAL noted in a statement Wednesday evening.

“NIRSAL has also linked the 926 FCT farmers cultivating 1,140 hectares of land with guaranteed offtake markets thereby protecting them from price fluctuations and the exploitative tendencies of some middlemen.

“Other forms of support include the provision of fertilizer, crop protection products and round-the-clock technology-driven project monitoring services.”

At a recent symbolic input distribution across the north-central region, some farmers in Dobi area of the FCT received further support for their on-going farming activities from NIRSAL.

Ayo Olaleye, Head of NIRSAL’s Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Office (PMRO) in the FCT, at a meeting at Passo assured the farmers of the federal government willingness to continue to prioritize their needs, not just in the implementation of the CBN’s ABP, but also in the development and delivery of frameworks that will further open the banking sector to agriculture, particularly the Agro Geo-Cooperative model.

He also assured the farmers of commitment by NIRSAL’s Managing Director/CEO, Aliyu Abdulhameed, to continue to ensure that farmers get the best of inputs at the right times and locations for their production purposes.

The statement further noted that the gathering was an opportunity for different farmer groups to meet after busy planting weeks to discuss how their crops are faring and as well confirm the extent to which they benefited from the mechanization component of the ABP in land preparation.

The ABP, which is basically an input loan scheme, also provides for cash component that empowers farmers to weed and maintain their farms personally.

Speaking on behalf of his members, Emmanuel Afolabi, President of the Dobi AGC, expressed commended the Federal Government and NIRSAL for their inclusion in the ABP, promising that they would ensure its successful implementation.

He solicited for the sustenance and expansion of the programme to include more farmers in Dobi community in the future.

In Afolabi’s words, “We are grateful to the Federal Government for remembering us and bringing this project to us, rural dwellers. On our part, we will strive to ensure that the project is a success in our community.

“We pledge that we will not fail the Federal Government and NIRSAL. We are requesting that the programme will not end this year and we want more farmers to be accommodated next year”.

Nmadu Benjamin who represented Nuhu Muazu, Head of the CBN’s Development Finance Office (DFO) in the FCT, encouraged the farmers to make good use of the ABP opportunity and ensure that they repay the loan to enable them access more benefits in the future.

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