The Nigeria Incentive- Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) has trained 2,600 mid-management and agric desk officers of commercial banks. Training bankers by NIRSAL is to make the bankers understand the challenges faced by farmers and agric value chain actors so that the risk the farmers and other actors pose to banks and access to finance are mitigated. NIRSAL Plc, in a statement, disclosed that “since its inception, NIRSAL Plc has provided training on good agronomic practices to over 700,000 farmers and trained over 2,600 midmanagement and agric desk officers of commercial banks.”
As a follow up to training bankers, Nigeria Incentive- Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) has also trained and mentored 780 farmers and other agricultural value chain actors across the country. These 780 farmers and agric value chain actors can now easily access finance from banks as the training has significantly reduced their risk to be financed as well as attract investors.
The series of training sessions under the NIRSAL Strategic Business Support Services (SBSS) are aimed at building the capacity of value chain actors for improved production, handling, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities. T he statement from NIRSAL Plc said: “The sessions took place in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and focused on ten Commodities of Interest (COI) that have ecological and economic advantages in each region.
“The commodities include rice, ginger, maize, fresh fruit and vegetables, cassava, beans, aquaculture, oil palm, livestock and cotton.” It added that “during the NIRSAL SBSS sessions, farmers as well as input suppliers, processors, transporters, exporters, and traders of agricultural products were trained on modern, business-oriented pre-upstream, upstream, midstream and downstream operations with a view to achieving the micro and macroeconomic effects of farmer income enhancement and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase.”
The NIRSAL SBSS programme identified farmers and value chain actors most in need of training, assessed value chain gaps, designed intervention approaches and implemented same; the main approach being a four-week long mentorship programme comprising in-class and field sessions.
The choice of the selected commodities, NIRSAL said “was informed by the NIRSAL Agricultural Commodity Ecological Area (ACEA) map, which it developed and obtained validation for from relevant research institutes. NIRSAL Plc believes that ACEA-compliant agricultural investments hold the highest chances for success in terms of production and sale.” Accordingly, in the North- Central, the Benue State SBSS focused on rice, ginger and maize, which are NIRSAL COIs that possess the highest factor productivity in the state.