Smallholder farmers across the country are set to benefit from the newly unveiled funding initiative by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
NIRSAL has pledged its support for the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) as it disclosed that it would be extending new loans to rural farmers. This disclosure was made by the Managing Director, NIRSAL, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, when the President of AFAN, Alhaji Faruk Rabiu Mudi, led a team of the association’s executives on a courtesy visit to the agency’s management in Abuja.
According to Abdulhameed, NIRSAL’s effort towards supporting farmers was informed by the need to improve their conditions and lift millions of smallholder farmers in the country out of poverty.
While noting that most rural farmers had not evolved and were still stuck with crude farming techniques, the NIRSAL boss emphasized his commitment towards enhancing the farmer’s access to credit so that they could adopt more beneficial farm practices.
Speaking further, Abdulhameed gave examples of what NIRSAL had done recently. He said the agency had embarked on a program of structuring agricultural primary production in Nigeria with the Agro GeoCoops initiative in the field. He added that the formation of Agro GeoCoops had commenced nationwide and was based on the Agro Commodity Ecological Areas (ACEA) that had been identified by NIRSAL and validated by research institutes.
He said the initiative, which was designed to reach 16,000 Agro GeoCoops, four million hectares, and eight million farmers, presented an organized setting for finance, market and risk management.
Commenting on the pledge by NIRSAL, the excited AFAN President, Alhaji Faruk Rabiu Mudi, said, “This is critical because, without funds, it is impossible to move Nigerian agriculture to agribusiness; without funds, we cannot improve the welfare of farmers who are feeding a nation of 200 million people. The fact that NIRSAL has facilitated over N100bn into agriculture is no joke, and we as farmers are very happy and grateful.”
About NIRSAL: The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc.) is a US$500 million Non-Bank Financial Institution wholly-owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) created to redefine, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.