In a bid to complement farmers’ efforts and ensure food sufficiency, Nigeria’s Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending says no fewer than 4,630 farmers have received loans from the agency since 2017 when it began operations in the state.
We gathered that NIRSAL, an agency under the Central Bank of Nigeria, was established to create a link between the agricultural value chain and the financial sector in order to boost productivity, food security, and the profitability of agric business in Nigeria.
Speaking in Lafia on Thursday at the NIRSAL stakeholders 2022 Engagement, the Head, Projects Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Office, Noel Dilli, said N500 million had been given as loans to farmers in the state to improve their productivity.
Dilli said the objectives of the meeting were to have a one-on-one with the stakeholders in the field across all the agricultural value chain segments; showcase NIRSAL’s achievements throughout their 5 years in the state; showcase some of NIRSAL service offerings; demonstrate the agency’s commitment to fixing Nigeria’s AVC and its vision for the future.
He urged farmers who were going through financial challenges to approach the agency for loans, assuring them of the agency’s cooperation at all times.
He said, “NIRSAL Plc in order to realise it’s vision of transforming the economy and to deliver inclusive growth which will positively impact on the lives of Nigerians, have been supporting all sizes of businesses, whether small, medium or large across the length and breadth of the country and we hope to do more for the people.
“Since the year 2017, we have been able to give loans to 4,630 farmers in Nasarawa state. We earmarked N500 million for the project and so many of the farmers benefited from across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state.
“We want other farmers who are facing financial difficulties to approach us for loans. Our efforts are to ensure food sufficiency and boost the Nigerian economy.
“NIRSAL Plc does not give loans to individuals but we give to cooperatives. So, farmers who are interested would have to form a cooperative before approaching us for loans.”
The Assistant Manager of the Agricultural Value Chain, Production and Integration Services, Onerno Obaseki, however, lamented about the attitude of some farmers who received the loans but did not repay them on the due dates.
She said such attitude could hinder the agency from giving loans to other farmers in the state who genuinely needed the funds to improve their farming activities.
“It is actually very sad that about 80 per cent of the farmers who collected our loans are yet to repay them and it is hindering us from giving loans to other farmers who are interested in accessing the loans. So, I am urging all the farmers who are owing NIRSAL to start paying the loans so that we can continue to serve residents of the state without any challenges,” Obaseki said.