NIRSAL targets land bank to boost agribusiness in Nigeria

… Agric is not a hobby, but business


NIRSAL

Nigeria Incentive-based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL Plc, has disclosed plans to create Land banks across the country to further boost agribusiness.

Managing Director/Chief Executive, NIRSAL, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, disclosed this at the Ecobank Agribusiness Summit organized in partnership with Vanguard Media Limited last week with the theme: “Unlocking Productivity and Investment Opportunities across Nigeria’s Agribusiness Value Chain.”

He said that Land bank would be achieved if high net worth individuals in Nigeria would give out their land space of over 20 thousand hectares for agricultural purpose.

Abdulhameed explained that land banks can be managed by land developers who would clear and parcel out the land to farmers for productivity, while the owners get their regular income between 25 to 30 years.

He stated: “House is a dead asset but the farm can produce yearly for life if the soil texture can be maintained. We intend to create land banks of five, ten or 20 thousand hectares. The land would be made available by high net worth individuals in Nigeria.

Agric is not a hobby, it is a business, land can be handed over to the land bank to handle for 20 to30 years and the owner would get a steady income from the land developer who would clear the land and parcel it out, put irrigation and have productivity going on.

“Every Nigerian would benefit from it. Give your land and make money. To de-risk agriculture in Nigeria, you got to leverage the latest technology of geo-mapping infrastructure and comprehensive mechanized agriculture, he said.

Speaking further, he said that the modern-day agricultural financing is not Agric finance but financing agribusiness, adding, “Every commodity we produce in Nigeria can be broken into the business. You cannot do successful agriculture without financing the upstream, midstream and downstream.

“We have land, but a large part of the arable land we have is a dead asset, so you cannot convince Ecobank to put N70 billion into a dead asset, you have to bring life to that land as a dead asset.

By 2025 it has been estimated that Africa is going to import up to $110 billion worth of food feed and fibre. Incidentally, we have just found the AfCTA which makes this market available to Nigeria if we could do it right.

He added “Across the world, due to rapid population growth, it is understood that the entire food and agribusiness industry in the world is worth $5 trillion.

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We in Africa can convert those things into opportunities for us to take. If we can get it right, we can supply Brazil and Argentina, starting from being commodities to consumption centres of the world, the factors of production are in our favour. The modern-day financing agriculture is not financing agriculture but financing agribusiness.”

Abdulhameed noted that Africa hope in agriculture lies with the small-holder farmers, “all our activities must reflect smallholder farmers because that is where the hope of Africa lies. Corporate agriculture would not work for us, otherwise, you would find a small island of prosperity is surrounded by a huge sea of poverty.

“NIRSAL is trying to ensure every state capital in Nigeria with a taste for fresh foods and vegetables, there is a controlled environment for agriculture. Control environment to chill fresh food, imagine young people across the country having greenhouses for vegetable products in the country a day and serving the market. That is the future for young people. Agribusiness is driven by technology.

He added “Our young people must be able to study agribusiness and be able to do project management to be able to deliver on projects. That way it is easy for us to get the money.

“Finance capital can enable a lot of things to be acquired; we don’t have to wait all our life to acquire these things. Technology has no border, equipment capital has no border, brain capital has no border.

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