The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has approved about $5million (N1.8 billion) for Doreo Partners to train 50,000 farmers in the North through its Babangona Outgrower Farming Scheme.
The agreement for the loan facility was signed in Lagos at the weekend between NSIA management and Doreo Partners. NSIA manages the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Doreo Partners Chairman, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido, who spoke at the ceremony, said Babangona is a franchise model, which provides small holder farmers access to required investment capital. He added that it also provides comprehensive suite of agricultural and marketing services along the agricultural value. This, he sid, subsequently results in a dramatic increase in profitability and living standards.
According to him, the outgrower model has helped farmers increase maize, soybean, and rice production in their fields by providing access to low-cost and high-quality inputs and production materials and facilitating marketing of harvests.
The scheme, he said, uses demonstration plots to share best practices with the broader communities where their farmers live, adding that it has streamlined service delivery by creating special service units responsible for managing distribution and post-harvest processes.
The new system, according to him, is more convenient for farmers, reducing wait times for input and payment.
He said the loan, which has a moratorium of two years, will assist the organisation in providing training and development to support farmers to graduate from subsistence to business-minded farmers.
The scheme, according to him, is working with 16,000 farmers, adding that the goal is to reach 200,000 farmers by 2020. The scheme is in Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina States.
NSIA Managing Director /CEO, Mr Uche Orji said the discussion to allocate the facility to the scheme had taken almost one year, adding that agriculture is very important and the authority will continue to assist farmers with sufficient assistance to boost production.
He adds that authority is looking at other support systems for farmers such as crop diversification and value adding.