Written by Sarah NEGEDU

NIRSAL facilitates $375m agric loan from banks

Management of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL, said the agency has facilitated a total of $375million from commercial banks for the agricultural sector since it was incorporated in 2013.

The Managing Director, NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, gave the figure after the signing of agreement between NIRSAL Plc and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, CIAT, on the imperatives of creating Climate Risk Profiles in Nigeria.

NIRSAL was created by the CBN to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain, fixing agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending.

Speaking at the event, Abdulhameed said the agency has so far trained over 700,000 farmers on good agronomic practices and financial management, and provide high quality agricultural inputs and affordable finance to more than 500,000 smallholder farmers under three farming seasons between 2017 and 2018.

He said effective decision-making is crucial to the success of any business, hence creating climate risk profiles will strengthen existing decision support systems in agriculture and present a more palatable investment atmosphere to investors.

Abulhameed further added that since climate change issues had been on the global radar for several years, Nigeria, like several other African countries, had come to the realisation of the need to pay critical attention to the topic.

He said, “Under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria signed up its commitment for the achievement of the 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions targets at the Paris Accord. This provides a policy directive for the pursuit of climate compatible development in Nigeria.

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

“Conversely, we also understand that our efforts in growing the agricultural sector must be sustainable and, at the same time, not detrimental to the environment.”

The pact with ICTA aim at delivering a climate risk profiling project in Nigeria, as well as provide indications of how climate change can potentially impact agricultural production, water resources, energy and human health.

In his remarks, the African Director, ICTA, Dr Debisi Araba, said the partnership for the development of climate risk profiles for Nigeria would help strengthen existing decision support systems in agriculture.

He said through the collaboration, ICTA would build capacity of stakeholders for identifying and managing climate risks in agribusiness. He said the partnership would guide climate-smart agricultural investments and enable the flow of additional finance into climate-smart agricultural approaches.

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