NIRSAL’s latest 148 billion naira funding to boost Nigeria’s agricultural sector
The Nigerian Incentive Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL PLC) has ad the disbursement of over 148 billion naira in financing and investment in the agricultural sector. The strategy aims to stimulate the constant flow of funds to the country’s agricultural ecosystem, as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic disrupted the flow of activities in the sector in 2020.
In a statement, Aliyu Abdulhameed, director general of NIRSAL, noted that NIRSAL has consistently worked to facilitate funding over the past year as people need food to survive. According to Abdulhameed, “the organization has facilitated more than 148 billion naira in financing and investments for agriculture and agribusiness; brought together more than 3,000 agro-geo-cooperatives with 500,000 farmers on nearly 800,000 hectares of land.
He further said that NIRSAL, which is a 100% owned company by the Central Bank of Nigeria) has facilitated more than N30 billion in the sector between January 2020 and today.
In a recent report By the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the important role that the agricultural sector has played in facilitating the Nigerian economy’s sudden exit from recession in Q4 2020 alongside the telecommunications sector was highlighted. The sector is said to have contributed to 3.42 percent of the 0.11 percent growth in gross domestic product by the end of 2020. This reveals the importance of the country’s main source of foreign income.
With the discovery on January 15, 1956 of crude oil in commercial volume at the Oloibiri oilfield in present-day Bayelsa state by Shell Darcy, Nigeria turned its attention away from the agricultural industry. The country left this sector in the hands of small farmers and a few powerful players and relied heavily on the oil sector.
This has reduced the industry’s ability to generate a lot of foreign income or to move towards the use of sophisticated technologies like its counterparts in the global market. This further resulted in the inability of the sector to supply enough food to the country as the government began spending billions of naira on importing rice and other agricultural products.
Nonetheless, the latest financing would have a significant impact on the growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, as farmers and agribusinesses would get flexible loans to continue their production activities. The fund would strengthen the country’s workforce as it would create increased demand for more farm laborers and traders in agricultural products. In addition, the Nigerian economy benefits more from this disbursement as it would ensure food security and generate foreign revenue.