By Nduka Chiejina, (Asst. Editor), Abuja
THE Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc has facilitated the funding of over N105 billion across various agricultural segments.
The segments that have been targeted with this funding include pre-upstream, upstream, midstream and downstream segments of the agricultural value chain from public and private sources of finance.
According to a statement by NIRSAL, “this finance has had a profound positive socio-economic consequence, resulting in the creation of over 400,000 jobs and impacting two million lives positively”.
Leading the facilitation is the NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative formation through which NIRSAL is structuring farmers by creating 16,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives (AGCs) made up of eight million farmers cultivating four million hectares of farmland.
To date, over 452 Agro Geo-Cooperatives covering over 270,000 hectares have benefited from the process through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
This agriculture funding has started to bear results as Northcentral farmers are poised to smile to the banks with expected profits, high yields and improved livelihood in the 2020 wet season.
According to NIRSAL, rice, maize, cassava, sesame and soybean farmers in Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Benue and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will record this financial and harvest gains, following “the NIRSAL’s support for their 2020 wet season farming activities under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP)’’.
It said it has structured farmers in the FCT into 16 established AGCs, 12 of which are included in the ABP for this year’s wet season.
Already, NIRSAL said it “has also linked the 926 FCT farmers cultivating 1,140 hectares of land with guaranteed off-take markets, thereby protecting them from price fluctuations and the exploitative tendencies of some middlemen”.
Other forms of support that guarantee bumper harvest and financial gains for the farmers, NIRSAL said “include the provision of fertiliser, crop protection products and round-the-clock technology-driven project monitoring services”.
According to the statement, as more AGCs develop around the territory and beyond, will NIRSAL continue to provide training on bookkeeping and modern farming, mechanisation for pre-planting, planting and harvesting and distribution of improved, high-yielding seeds.