The Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Riela Projects GNA Limited to boost commercial agriculture in the country.
NIRSAL was incorporated in 2013 by the Central Bank of Nigeria to improve lending to agriculture by addressing the underlying reasons why banks do not lend to the sector.
The partnership, which was sealed in Abuja, is designed to leverage advanced agricultural technologies from Europe in the country so as to reduce the post-harvest losses of farmers, which is estimated at N2.7tn annually and based on statistics from the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Managing Director, NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, stated that the collaboration with Riela was designed to improve access to modern agricultural equipment and boost transfer of knowledge on best agricultural practices.
This, he noted, would contribute significantly to deepening agricultural mechanisation in the country while building local technical capacity.
He explained that the partnership would help reduce the N2.7tn annual post-harvest losses through a business-driven service provision and support framework, that would provide farmers at the primary level of production cost-effective access to modern farming technologies and machinery.
The support scheme, according to him, will also include provision of relevant trainings on best agronomy practices as well as relevant technical assistance to help them succeed and get good yields from their efforts.
Under the terms of the partnership, the NIRSAL boss, according to a statement on Monday, explained that Riela was to supply post-harvest processing machines, equipment and services to farmers and agro producers.
This will be done within the context of an agreed investment framework with NIRSAL and other stakeholders.
Abdulhameed said, “This is a testimonial to the commitment of NIRSAL to its mandate to facilitate agribusiness in the country and Riela’s faith in NIRSAL as a credible business partner.
“It is also as much a credit to the transparency of our financing and operational framework for implementing the partnership as it is to the conducive investment environment that the (President Muhammadu) Buhari administration has created in the agriculture sector.”
In his remarks, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Bernhard Schlagheck, said that his home country’s government was supporting the partnership between NIRSAL and Riela because of its confidence in the overall direction of the Federal Government’s agriculture policy as reflected in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
He commended the efforts of NIRSAL as a credible partner and enabler under the leadership of the CBN.
Schlagheck described the prospects of the Nigerian agriculture sector as very promising given the innovativeness of NIRSAL.