The Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has offered to support the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) of the Central bank of Nigeria.
Making this disclosure was the Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed. He spoke at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja.
According to him, “The ABP is a massively successful program of the Federal Government but even if you have sufficient yield, the yield itself is another factor because while the government can provide NIRSAL all the financing required, it is one thing to make the farmer raise his yield from half a tonne of 800kilos to about 4-5 tonnes that is required.”
The NIRSAL boss said, there are sufficient resource and opportunities in Africa, and Nigeria in particular. “We have land resource, water resource, we have market opportunities, but the technologies required to leapfrog our yield from subsistence level to what can be commercially viable and can create surplus for the communities and the market, and in order to substitute for import is what is needed.”
He added that “any yield improvement by smallholder farmers’ means generation of revenue; generation of revenue means the capacity for us to be able to enable them to get financing, because financing can only come when you can demonstrate sufficient revenue. Sufficient revenue is tied to yield; yield is tied to science, technology and innovation – that is what the TAAT program of the AfDB represents.”
Addressing the challenge of the preponderance of fake and adulterated fertilizers, Aliyu said, “from our point of view in NIRSAL, the problem will be the fertilizer industry itself; it is not the question of manufacture of supply. It is the downstream supply chain that is unstructured that is not controlled and regulated. The farmer is there at one end of the chain, the manufacturer or importer is on the other end of the chain. What happens between the farmers and the manufactures, the logistics system has to be controlled, the quality control parameters have to be applied even during goods in transit.”
The African Development Bank (AfDB), he explained “has developed a program called the Technology for African Agriculture in order to see how African agriculture production can leapfrog in order to meet the requirements of the 21st century rapid population growth, and the fact that Africa imports up to $35 billion of food commodities from around the world.”
Abdulhameed further emphasised that, “NIRSAL found in the AfDB, and TAAT systems a one stop shop that can give us the capacity and the technology that is required to be applied on the ground to support primary production of almost all the key commodities that are required in Nigeria and leapfrog the technology gap overnight and we believe in NIRSAL, being a risk-taking company, it is important for us to support any technology that improves yield.
“The good thing about what we do in NIRSAL is that we bring all the ecosystem parties together around fertilizer – from the farmers, to the transporters, to the goods insurance transit insurance companies, to manufacturers around the table, because we create financing for them. We are then able to impose rules that say nobody should tamper with the bags of fertilizers, nobody should adulterate that fertilizer, and we are going to enable the farmers to be able to know whether the stitches on those bags have been tampered with. Don’t forget that we enable finance, so, we have leverage control behaviour right along that chain, “he said.
Also speaking at the event was Director, Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Martin Fregene who said “We are happy to be working with NIRSAL on the Feed Africa and TAAT Program and we look forward to reducing prices for consumers and increasing incomes for smallholder farmers in rural areas of Nigeria.
“At the heart of rural poverty in Nigeria and Africa, and at the heart of the high consumer prices we pay for food is a low productivity that you encounter for maize, sorghum and other key staples. Feed Africa, the bank’s initiative has its biggest pillar – improving productivity. We are very happy to be working with NIRSAL because they help to facilitate finance to all the actors in the value chain. NIRSAL also has proven experience. Many do not realize that when the government reach 15 million farmers with seeds and fertilizers, under the growth enhancement support program, NIRSAL financed all the seed and fertilizer companies in that program. We look forward to reducing prices for consumers and also increasing income for our farmers in rural areas.”
According to the Kenton Dashiell of the International Institute of Transforming African Agriculture (IITA), “IITA has been based in Nigeria for fifty years. We are the leader and coordinator for all the institutes that are bringing their skills and expertise on the various crops and animal value chains that are going to transform agriculture here in Nigeria.”
The meeting was an outcome of the recently concluded 4th Cassava Conference and Meeting of TAAT Compact Leaders in the Republic of Benin. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to invest $120 million over the next three years to boost productivity and transform nine commodities in Africa which include cassava, rice, maize, sorghum/millet, wheat, livestock, aquaculture, high iron beans and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. The transformation of these nine commodities will be achieved through TAAT, a key platform for driving the Feed Africa strategy of the AfDB.
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