By Elizabeth Uwandu
ABUJA—The Nigeria Incentive- Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL, is concluding harvest and post-harvest activities for maize in Lokpa Nta and Umunneochi Local Government Areas of Abia State under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s, CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, ABP.
The harvest processes include handling, storage, processing, transportation and off-take.
NIRSAL, a Participating Financial Institution, PFI, in the ABP, is supporting 387 maize farmers belonging to the Kelechik Out-growers scheme. As part of a trial phase, NIRSAL has successfully harvested an initial 21 Hectares of land belonging to 21 smallholder farmers while arrangements have been concluded for the outstanding 366 farmers to participate in the 2019 Wet Season farming.
With the end-to-end use of mechanisation starting from the pre-planting phase, the maize crops were harvested, dehusked, threshed, weighed and transported to a produce drop point for storage and eventual delivery. The harvest amounted to 1,354 tonnes of maize valued at N162,480,000.00.
Under the NIRSAL model, smallholder farmers are closely supported throughout the production phase up till the point of off-take. As part of efforts to ensure optimum yield, farmers are trained on Best Agronomic Practices and Farm Management to prepare them for the transition from smallholder farming to Agribusiness.
Farmers under the scheme expressed their delight and appreciation to NIRSAL for building their capacity, empowering them and improving their yields, incomes and livelihoods through the project.
In addition to the Abia State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), the exercise was supervised by Field Officers of NIRSAL’s Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Office (PMRO)- an innovative field structure deployed by NIRSAL to de-risk agricultural projects.