NIRSAL facilitates $375m bank loans to agric sector’

Related imageSince incorporated in 2013 by the Central Bank of Nigeria, a total of $375m has been facilitated by the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending from Deposit Money Banks for the agricultural sector.

The Managing Director, NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, gave the figure on Wednesday in Abuja after the signing of an agreement between the agency and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

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.

The collaboration between NIRSAL and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture is said to be aimed at delivering a climate risk profiling project in Nigeria.

The project is also aimed at providing an overview of climate risk issues and vulnerabilities across agro-ecological zones in the country.

It is also expected to provide indications of how climate change will potentially impact agricultural production, water resources, energy and human health.

Speaking at the event, Abulhameed described the pact with ICTA as a game changer in NIRSAL’s objective to make agriculture a viable venture for smallholder farmers.

Since climate change issues had been on the global radar for several years, he said 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.

“In our analysis, close to 30 per cent of the NDC goals for Nigeria are achievable via sectoral focus on agriculture alone.”

He said NIRSAL had trained over 700,000 farmers in 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.

Also speaking at the event, 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.

This, according to him, will facilitate the development of robust response plans and programmes for a climate-resilient agricultural sector.

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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