The Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has entered into partnership with Africa Development Bank (AfDB), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and others to boost agricultural production in the country.
Other partners with NIRSAL in the new initiative include: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).
The stakeholders met recently in Abuja to discuss modalities for the implementation of the new initiative. The partnership, according to NIRSAL, is expected to create a plan for agricultural transformation in Africa, through the adoption of regional and home-grown technologies that are enhanced by strategic partnerships of agriculture multi-stakeholders and experts. Managing director of NIRSAL Plc., Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, said one of the objectives of the partnership with IITA and the AfDB through the TAAT programme is to support the Anchor Borrower Programme given by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) is a massively successful programme of the federal government but even if you have sufficient yield, the yield itself is another factor because while the government can provide NIRSAL all the financing required, it is one thing to make the farmer raise his yield from half a tonne of 800kilos to about 4-5 tonnes that is required.
“Again, we believe that when we consolidate this partnership with IITA and AfDB using the TAAT veritable tools to ensure that farmers under the ABP, immediately increase their yields from the average of what they have now to almost double or triple what they produce typically in the country.
With this, I believe that the GDP of Nigeria will increase by the sheer volume of the produce that farmers will produce with this effort,” he said. On his part, director, Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Martin Fregene said,
“We are happy to be working with NIRSAL on the Feed Africa and TAAT programme and we look forward to reducing prices for consumers and increase incomes for smallholder farmers in rural areas of Nigeria.’’ AfDB had recently committed $120 million over the next three years to boost productivity and transform nine commodities in Africa which include cassava, rice, maize, sorghum/millet, wheat, livestock, aquaculture, high iron beans and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.
The transformation of these nine commodities will be achieved through TAAT, a key platform for driving the Feed Africa strategy of the AfDB. However, the resources required to achieve the objectives of Feed Africa strategy are huge and well beyond what could be achieved by the AfDB alone, the Bank is, therefore, developing strategic alliances and partnerships to help mobilise resources to achieve these objectives.
TAAT is a multi-donor financing platform, established to help take proven agricultural technologies to scale across Africa. It aims to radically improve agriculture as a business across Africa by deploying agricultural productivity-increasing technologies within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIAs) which include cassava intensification, self-sufficiency in rice production, food and nutrition security in the Sahel, Transforming African Savannahs into breadbaskets, revitalizing tree plantations, expanding horticulture, increasing Africa’s wheat production, and achieving self-sufficiency in inland fish production.