The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) says it is supporting the 2020 wet season farming operations of 2,987 maize farmers with essential inputs, structuring, training and supervision as part of efforts to boost the Federal Government’s next level agenda of restoring the socio-economic stability of North-east particularly Borno State.
As a participating financial institution under the CBN’s Anchor Borrower Programme, NIRSAL has structured farmers into a group named the Maize Dealers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MDMAN) Farmers in the ongoing NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative® (AGC).
By its mandate, the agency provides viable, safe and controlled investment environments for investor funds as well as equip smallholder farmers with incentives to produce and sell more through comprehensive farm mechanization and the crowding of other value givers and takers in one project.
After the tedious operations of mapping and delineating individual farmer plots, the now structured farmers were supplied with 59.74 metric tons of certified maize seeds and 896 metric tons of fertilizer. In addition, the farmers were also supplied with 23,896 litres of crop protection products with one knapsack sprayer per hectare for their application, NIRSAL said.
Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, NIRSAL Managing Director/CEO, said at the launch of the programme at the Emir of Biu’s palace in Borno State that it would contribute to recovery efforts in response to the double socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on the economy and insecurity in the region.
“In the North-east region of Nigeria alone, a total of 19,943 farmers belonging to 70 AGCs, cultivating rice, maize and soybean on 29,919 hectares of farmland spanning Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe states have got access to 748 metric tons of improved seed varieties, 8,974 metric tons of fertilizer and 239,352 litres of crop protection chemicals, in addition to mechanization services.
“We could have gone to any one of 29 states across the country where we are supporting farmers to have this event; however, we chose Borno State to help increase the confidence level of citizens as they attempt to resettle themselves into their communities and leverage on agriculture to improve their livelihoods,” said Abdulhameed in a statement made available to Persecondnews.
“While the mechanics for conflict resolution and military activities are not our forte, we must, as a matter of national necessity, follow national efforts for peace with viable economic pathways that will gainfully engage citizens, and make our hard-fought peace sustainable. This is why we tirelessly work to innovate and deploy models such as the NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative®.”
“Without any doubt, sustainable economic development in any nation cannot be achieved without rural transformation and the empowerment of dwellers therein. With more than half of Nigeria’s 84million hectares of arable land uncultivated and a very big and captive agricultural commodity and food import substitution opportunity, we strongly believe that we can change this narrative by harnessing Nigeria’s agribusiness opportunities and potentials,” Abdulhameed said.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Mohammed Dilli, the President of MDMAN Farmers AGC, thanked the Federal Government, CBN and NIRSAL Plc for providing input which he noted were crucial for the production of agricultural commodities.
“Going by the area covered this rainy season, we are sure that the gap between maize importation and local production will not only be covered but maize will become available for import”.
He also called on his AGC members to reciprocate the goodwill by abiding by the guidelines of the ABP, especially loan repayment.
Till date, over 104,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives have signed up for the NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative® initiative, which is a system of primary production that invites farm neighbours into contiguous 250-hectare partnerships for the purposes of producing at scale and gaining easier access to finance, training, inputs, markets and more.
In terms of its involvement as a participating financial institution in the wet season’s ABP intervention, NIRSAL is supporting well over 44,670 farmers cultivating over 68,771 hectares of land across the country to achieve over 275,800 metric tons of farm produce.
The ABP has reached over a million smallholder farmers since its launch, which has led to increased agricultural productivity, supported wealth creation, improved food security and made Nigeria’s agricultural commodities more competitive.