Three commercial banks on Tuesday dedicated a sum of N4.5 billion to the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), in support of Maize and Soybean value chains in the country.
The three banks include Stanbic IBTC, Union Bank and Sterling Bank, committed the sum of N2bn, N1.5bn, and N1bn respectively.
The endowment is as a result of a two-day stakeholders’ meeting which was held at the NIRSAL headquarters in Abuja. In attendance were the forepersons in the maize and soybean value chains, banks and financial institutions, and other stakeholders.
The Managing Director, NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed said poor farmers from Benue, Niger and Ekiti states will be the first set of beneficiaries under the scheme with future plans to partner with other interested states.
According to Abdulhameed, 3,750 farmers are to be supported across the three states with N65.5 million worth of 107.5 metric tonnes of seeds, which is to be supplied by Seed companies in Nigeria.
He said 2,062 metric tonnes of fertilizer worth about N290 million will be produced by a fertilizer company while N54.6 million worth of 33, 250 liters of crop protection products have been committed to the project.
Giving further insights, he explained 8,750 metric tonnes of maize with a market value of N744 million and 2,000 metric tonnes of soybean worth N208 million will be produced and off taken in this first phase.
Abdulhameed said in terms of economic benefit, this first stage of the project would save the country about N1bn through import substitution, and also help generate revenue of N425, 000 for maize and N2.26m for soybean farmers.
The NIRSAL boss said that this strategy will be deployed for 15 value chains across the country, and will make a lasting positive change in the lives of millions of smallholder farmers.
NIRSAL is an establishment promoted by the CBN to reduce lending risk that has for a while limited the access of funding by Nigerian farmers.