In line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to help farmers cushion the effect of COVID-19, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System’s (NIRSAL) says the Central Bank of Nigeria and NIRSAL have further boosted multi-sectoral support to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
Specifically, NIRSAL has structured farrmers in the FCT into 16 established Agro Geo-Cooperatives, 12 of which are included in the ABP for wet season 2020.
More than 452 Agro Geo-Cooperatives covering over 270,000 hectares of land have benefitted through the ABP.
It is also provide training on bookkeeping, modern farming practices, mechanization for pre-planting, planting and harvesting activities as well as distribution of improved, high-yielding seed varieties.
NIRSAL’s Managing Director/CEO, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, told the farmers at a meeting that the federal government would continue to prioritize farmers’ needs including the development and delivery of frameworks that would further open the banking sector to agriculture, the Agro Geo-Cooperative® model being one of them.
Abdulhameed, who spoke through the Head of NIRSAL’s Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Office (PMRO) in the FCT, Mr Ayo Olaleye, promised that NIRSAL would continue to ensure that farmers get the best of inputs at the right time and locations for increased production.
He said rice, maize, cassava, sesame and soybean farmers in Nasarawa, Niger, Kogiand Benue states as well as the FCT were expected to experience greater yields and improvement in livelihoods following the support given them for the 2020 wet season farming under ABP.
“We have 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 given the farmers include the provision of fertilizer, crop protection products and round-the-clock technology-driven project monitoring services,’’ he said in a statement emailed to Persecondnews.
According to him, inputs have also been distributed across the North-central region and to some farmers in Dobi area of the FCT l Territory (FCT).
The meeting also afforded the different farmer-groups the opportunity after busy weeks on their farms to discuss how their crops are faring after planting and to confirm the extent to which they benefited from the mechanization component of the ABP in the area of land preparation.
As their crops sprout and grow, the ABP, which is basically an input loan scheme, also provides cash component that empowers farmers to weed and maintain their farms personally.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, the President of the Dobi AGC, the Rev. Emmanuel Afolabi, expressed appreciation to the Federal Government and NIRSAL for their inclusion in the ABP, promising that they would ensure its successful implementation.
He solicited the sustenance and expansion of the programme to include more farmers in Dobi community in future.
“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 should not end this year and we also want more farmers to be accommodated next year,” Afolabi said.
Also speaking, Mr Nmadu Benjamin, who represented the Head of the CBN’s Development Finance Office (DFO) in the FCT, Mr Nuhu Muazu Nmadu urged the farmers to make good use of the ABP opportunity and ensure that they repay the loan to access more benefits.
As an institution created by the CBN to link agriculture and finance, NIRSAL Plc continues to develop and deploy bespoke, technology-driven risk-mitigation mechanisms designed to boost farmers’ productivity and encourage financiers to lend to agriculture. The support extended to farmers through the ABP is another example of how NIRSAL Plc continues to deliver on its mandate.
Since its inception, NIRSAL Plc has facilitated over N105 Billion across the Pre-Upstream, Upstream, Midstream and Downstream segments of the Agricultural value chain in Nigeria from public and private sources of finance. This finance has had a profound positive socio-economic consequence, resulting in the creation of over 400,000 jobs and impacting 2 million lives positively.
At the forefront of its finance facilitation drive is the NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative® formation process through which NIRSAL Plc 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.