James Emejo in Abuja
The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System Plc (NIRSAL) Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, has said the agency facilitated over N105 billion in public and private financing options across the pre-Upstream, upstream, midstream and downstream segments of the agricultural value chain to boost the sector since inception.
He said the funding has had a profound positive socio-economic consequence, resulting in the creation of over 400,000 jobs as well as impacting two million lives.
He also said the agency’s support for the 2020 wet season farming activities under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) would significantly increase farm yields and improve livelihoods in states within the North-central.
The affected states: Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Benue, are expected to witness bumper harvest in rice, maize, cassava, sesame and soybean even as NIRSAL confirmed the structuring of farmers in the FCT into 16 established Agro Geo-Cooperatives (AGCs), 12 of which were included in the ABP for wet season 2020.
Speaking during a meeting with farmers in the FCT, the MD said NIRSAL would continue to prioritise farmers’ 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 as well as ensure that farmers get the best of inputs at the right times and locations for their production purposes.
This came as the agriculture risk assessment agency also disclosed that it had linked 926 FCT farmers cultivating 1,140 hectares of land with guaranteed off-take markets thereby protecting them from price fluctuations as well as the exploitative tendencies of some middlemen.
Represented at the meeting by the NIRSAL’s Head, Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Office (PMRO) in the FCT, Mr. Ayo Olaleye, Abdulhameed, said though the COVID-19 pandemic had triggered a host of economic challenges globally, the federal government’s resolve not to undermine the agriculture sector is visible in the continued injection of funds into the sector through the CBN’s ABP.
He said as an institution created by the CBN to link agriculture and finance, NIRSAL would continue to develop and deploy technology-driven, risk-mitigation mechanisms designed to boost farmers’ productivity and encourage financiers to lend to agriculture.
He added that the support extended to farmers through the ABP represented yet another example of how NIRSAL continues to deliver on its mandate.
At the forefront of its finance facilitation drive is the AGCs formation process through which NIRSAL is structuring farmers by creating 16,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives made up of eight million farmers cultivating four million hectares of farmland.
Till date, over 452 AGCs covering over 270,000 hectares of land have benefitted from the process through the ABP.