Farmers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been structured into 16 established Agro Geo-Cooperatives (AGCs) for the 2020 wet season farming by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System (NIRSAL).
NIRSAL was created by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to link agriculture and finance. It has developed technology-driven risk-mitigation mechanisms designed to boost farmers’ productivity and encourage financiers to lend to agriculture.
Ms Anne Ihugba, NIRSAL Head of Corporate Communications, disclosed this development in a statement in Abuja.
According to her, 12 of the AGCs had been included in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
She said: ”NIRSAL had also linked 926 FCT farmers cultivating 1,140 hectares of land with guaranteed off-taker markets.
”This is to protect them from price fluctuations and exploitative tendencies of some middlemen.
”Other forms of support for the AGCs include the provision of fertiliser, crop protection products and round-the-clock technology-driven project monitoring services.”
Ihugba said NIRSAL would continue to provide training on bookkeeping, modern farming practices, mechanisation for pre-planting, planting, harvesting activities and distribution of improved, high-yielding seed varieties as more AGCs develop around FCT and beyond.
She said that rice, maize, cassava, sesame and soybean farmers in Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Benue states and the FCT were positioned for an increase in yields and improvement in livelihoods.
“This is following NIRSAL’s support for their 2020 wet season farming activities under Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
“Symbolic of input distributions that occurred across the north-central region where some farmers in Dobi area of the FCT received support for their ongoing farming activities from NIRSAL.
”NIRSAL’s AGC model, applied in its role as Participating Financial Institution (PFI) in the ABP, was a demonstration of increasing multi-sectoral support to agriculture in spite of the times,” she said.
Ihugba said that since inception, NIRSAL had facilitated over N105 billion across the Pre-Upstream, Upstream, Midstream and Downstream segments of the Agricultural value chain from public and private sources of finance.
“This finance has had a profound positive socio-economic consequence, resulting in the creation of over 400,000 jobs and impacting two million lives positively.
“At the forefront of its finance facilitation drive, is the NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative formation process.
“NIRSAL Plc is structuring farmers by creating 16,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives made up of eight million farmers cultivating four million hectares of farmland.
“To date, over 452 Agro Geo-Cooperatives covering over 270,000 hectares of land have benefitted from the process Geo-Cooperatives,” she said.