September 30, 2017

NIRSAL disburses N2.6bn to farmers

…Partnership with Stanbic/IBTC eliciting interests

…How farmers will benefit

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The N10 billion deal between the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Stanbic IBTC has generated more interests in the scheme among Deposit Money Banks, (DMBs) in the country.

The Managing Director, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, disclosed this at the 6th AGRIKEXPO & NABG Conference 2017 under the theme “Harnessing Agricultural Potential for Food Security, Youth Development, Nutrition and Wealth Creation,” in Abuja.

According to the NIRSAL chief executive, more banks have expressed strong interest in collaborating with NIRSAL for on-Balance Sheet Lending following the N10 billion NIRSAL/STANBIC-IBTC two-part agricultural scheme announced last week. He added that NIRSAL has decided to deploy a two-pronged strategy to ensure farmers do not only get access to finance but are also supported to get the best possible yields from their efforts to enable them repay their loans and still make good profit.

Mr. Abdulhameed said that to eliminate instances of loan diversion that have plagued similar interventions, the affected farmers will directly receive a huge proportion of the value of the loans in the form of physical farm inputs like improved rice seedlings, fertilizer, pesticides etc. The farmers will only be given a small part of the loan as money for operational purposes.

In line with its mandate of facilitating the flow of finance into the agriculture, NIRSAL recently signed an Agriculture Finance Scheme with STANBIC IBTC that is to start with N10billion for the 2017/2018 season in Nigeria.

He said that N2.63 billion has been disbursed to 24,732 rice farmers for the 2017 planting season.

The disbursement, he said, was in continuation of NIRSAL’s mandate to facilitate the flow of finance to the agriculture sector and help achieve the objectives of the Economy Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Buhari administration to diversify the economy, attain self-sufficiency in food production and entrench inclusive economic growth.

Mr. Abdulhameed disclosed that the disbursement was part of a N17billion NIRSAL nationwide support program for rice growers that being implemented under the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Program (ABP).

The scheme is designed to facilitate access to finance for individuals, cooperatives, companies, organized investment groups that have bankable agriculture projects; and will cover NIRSAL supported projects in livestock, tree crops, grains production, mechanization, logistics and poultry value chains.

The first phase of the scheme is projected to create over 92,000 direct jobs, impact about 500,000 lives, boost incomes of rural farmers.

NIRSAL is a wholly owned corporation of the CBN and was recently appointed as implementation partner for the Anchor Borrower Program (ABP) because of its institutional capacity to manage risks by ensuring close monitoring and supervision of beneficiary projects across the country.