NIRSAL launches 2020 wet season operations for maize farmers
Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) has launched the 2020 wet season farming operations of 44,670 maize farmers across the country with essential supplies, structuring, training and supervision in Biu, Borno State.
NIRSAL managing director/CEO, Aliyu Abdulhameed said at the event that the choice of Borno as launch site was to support Federal Government’s efforts at restoring socio-economic stability in Borno State in particular, and North-East in general.
Under the ongoing NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative (AGC) scheme where NIRSAL is a participating financial institution, the farmers were structured into a group named the Maize Dealers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MDMAN) Farmers AGC and linked with financing under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
After the tedious operations of mapping and delineating individual farmer plots, the now structured farmers were supplied with 59.74 metric tons of certified maize seeds and 896 metric tons of fertilizer. In addition, the farmers were also supplied with 23,896 litres of crop protection products with one knapsack sprayer per hectare for their application.
In the North-east region of Nigeria alone, a total of 19,943 farmers belonging to 70 AGCs, cultivating rice, maize and soybean on 29,919 hectares of farmland spanning Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe states have got access to 748 metric tons of improved seed varieties, 8,974 metric tons of fertilizer and 239,352 litres of crop protection chemicals, in addition to mechanization services.
Over 104,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives have so far signed up for the NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative initiative, which is a system of primary production that invites farm neighbours into contiguous 250-hectare partnerships for the purposes of producing at scale and gaining easier access to finance, training, inputs, markets and more.
In terms of its involvement as a Participating Financial Institution (PFI) in the wet season’s ABP intervention, NIRSAL is supporting well over 44,670 farmers cultivating over 68,771 hectares of land across the country to achieve over 275,800 metric tons of farm produce.
The ABP has reached over a million smallholder farmers since its launch, which has led to increased agricultural productivity, supported wealth creation, improved food security and made Nigeria’s agricultural commodities more competitive.
According to Abdulhameed “ with more than half of Nigeria’s 84 million hectares of arable land uncultivated and a very big and captive agricultural commodity and food import substitution opportunity, we strongly believe that we can change this narrative by harnessing Nigeria’s agribusiness opportunities and potentials.”
Also speaking at the event, Mohammed Dilli, President of MDMAN Farmers AGC observed that “going by the area covered this rainy season, we are sure that the gap between maize importation and local production will not only be covered but maize will become available for import”. He also called on his AGC members to “reciprocate the goodwill by abiding by the guidelines of the ABP, especially that of loan repayment.”