NIRSAL disburses N2.63b for 2017 rice farming season
The Nigeria Incentive Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) yesterday disclosed that it has disbursed N2.63 billion to 24,732 rice farmers for the 2017 planting season.
This, it said, was in continuation of its mandate to facilitate financial aid to the agriculture sector and help achieve the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) objectives of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to diversify the economy and attain self-sufficiency in food production.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, stated this while delivering a keynote address at the sixth AGRIKEXPO and NABG Conference 2017 with the theme: Harnessing Agricultural Potential for Food Security, Youth Development, Nutrition and Wealth Creation at the International Conference Center, Abuja.
Abdulhameed said the disbursement was part of the N17b NIRSAL support programme for rice growers being implemented under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
He also revealed that more banks have expressed interest in collaborating with NIRSAL for on-Balance Sheet Lending following the N10 billion NIRSAL/STANBIC-IBTC agricultural scheme announced last week.
He explained that NIRSAL was deploying a two-pronged strategy to ensure that farmers do not only get access to finance but are also supported to get the best possible yields from their efforts so they could pay back their loans and still make good profit.
Abdulhameed said to eliminate instances of loan diversion that have plagued similar interventions in the past, the farmers will directly receive a huge proportion of the value of the loans in the form of physical farm inputs like improved rice seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides, among others.
The farmers will only be given part of the loan as operations fund.
Part of NIRSAL’s key role is the provision of close technical support in the form of training of farmers on the best farming techniques to increase their chances of success.
NIRSAL’s Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Offices (PMROs) would provide the needed support in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The first phase of the scheme has been projected to create over 92,000 direct jobs, impact about 500,000 lives, boost rural farmers incomes and complement government’s efforts to drive inclusive economic growth through agriculture.