NIGERIA – The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) is set to raise over US$391.03 million (N140 billion) to finance agriculture in six states across the country over the next three years.

An Independent report reveals that US$200 million (N75 billion) will be raised by NIRSAL in partnership with the World Bank’s Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project.

The funding will enable the development, financing, and support of de-risked and optimized agribusiness projects.

According to a statement issued by NIRSAL, the funding will leverage on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) expertise based on its Mapping to Markets (M2M) strategy on the project.

This is expected to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve on value addition along the different value chains in a sustainable manner.

Among the value chains cited under the project include cassava, cashew, rice, poultry, aquaculture, cocoa, wheat, tomato, maize, ginger and dairy.

The project is to be deployed in Cross River, Enugu, Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna, and Kano states, will target 60,000 beneficiaries, and 360,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries.

“It is anticipated that 35 per cent of direct beneficiaries (or 21,000 individuals) will be women. Additionally, the project has a dedicated sub-component to benefit women and youth that will allow them develop agri-businesses that are expected to create jobs and improve their livelihoods,” the statement read.

The Managing Director/chief executive of NIRSAL Plc, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, assured APPEALS that NIRSAL will deploy its technologies towards the formation of Agro-Geo-Cooperatives for selected commodity value chains.

He said that this will be achieved through geospatial mapping, soil suitability tests, BVN enrolment for farmers in addition to the creation of Virtual Asset Titles (VAsT).

The project will also see establishment of field governance structures and training of farmers on good agronomic practices, team dynamics and social engineering.

NIRSAL will also link producers to relevant consumer, industrial and export markets and work with the State teams to structure agribusiness projects patterned after agreed sustainable models for APPEALS’ financing.

The second phase will see Ecobank Nigeria Ecobank Nigeria investing at least US$195.51 million (N70 billion) in agriculture financing in the next three years.

Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, disclosed that US$41.9 million (N15bn) will be dedicated funding with NIRSAL guarantee for an initial takeoff tranche in agricultural value chain financing and rollovers that will be done at the completion of each cycle.