– The Sun News
farmers

FG disburses $375m to farmers

…To save $22bn via import substitution

Uche Usim, Abuja

The Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc yesterday disclosed that it has so far facilitated funding from commercial banks for agribusinesses across the value chain to the tune of $375 million from 2017 till date. 

It also said over 700,000 farmers have been trained on good agronomic practices and financial education, and provided high quality agricultural inputs and affordable finance to more than 500,000 smallholder farmers under three farming seasons from 2017 to 2018.

The aim of the huge investments in agriculture is to save Nigeria a whopping $22 billion annually through import substitution.

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The Managing Director of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhammed, made these disclosures in Abuja, while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NIRSAL and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) towards the delivery of a Climate Risk Profiling Project in Nigeria.

The project, he noted, was aimed at providing an overview of climate risk issues and vulnerabilities across agro-ecological zones in the country as well as indications of how climate change will potentially impact agricultural production, water resources, energy and human health.

According the NIRSAL boss, the organisation recognises the importance of strategic partnerships as critical success factors for the delivery of agriculture and agribusiness value chain financing and risk management operations.

“We have built capabilities and expertise for effectively leveraging, managing and maximising strategic partnerships for mutual benefits and achievement of objectives and are convinced that this partnership with CIAT is one that would yield positive results that would be celebrated by Nigeria and Nigerians,” he explained.

He further revealed that the project was in sync with the NIRSAL mandate of de-risking agriculture and facilitating agri-business, saying

“we are convinced that the partnership will birth even more invaluable projects and programmes that will deliver immense benefits to the sector and economy at large.

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“NIRSAL is not only conscious of climate change, we understand the effects that climate risk issues have on the current and and could have on the future productivity of agricultural value chains and the sustainable development of the sector as a whole.

“To demonstrate our climate-smartness as an organisation, NIRSAL has a Climate-Smart Agriculture and Renewable Energy Business Unit that is saddled with the responsibility of aligning our operations and interventions with Nigeria’s NDC targets and pursuing climate-compatible approaches to agriculture in Nigeria.

In his presentation at the event, the Africa Director of CIAT, Dr. Debisi Araba, said part of the deal with NIRSAL entails the organisation bringing knowledge that it will share with NIRSAL on how to further de-risk the agricultural sector by training them on effects of climate change on agriculture.

This partnership, he explained, “will help farmers to be prepared for any unforeseen weather variations and insulate them from the vulnerabilities of weather changes across the six geopolitical zones,” he said.

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