The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc.) has said with the release of N232 million to Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited and TOAJ Nigeria Limited, it had so far disbursed over N128 billion for agriculture and agribusiness activities in the country since it was established about 10 years ago. This was disclosed at the weekend during the official release of N232 million to Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited and TOAJ Nigeria Limited at Ikot Akwa Edem Umo in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of NIRSAL Plc, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, said, “This huge investment translates to the creation of jobs, driving the growth of rural economies, and positively impacting Nigerian lives.”
Abdulhameed said the N232 million for Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited and TOAJ Nigeria Limited, for investment in poultry production and cocoa export value chains in Cross River State, were sourced from Union Bank and Sterling Bank Plc.
Leveraging on its CRG, an instrument that NIRSAL Plc utilises to share agribusiness risks with financiers, Abdulhameed said, “NIRSAL facilitated the approval and disbursement of N81.8 million and N150 million from Union Bank Plc and Sterling Bank Plc, respectively, while Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited will use its N81.8 million term loan to finance the purchase of 25,000 Point of Lay, 25,000 capacity battery cages and feeding compliments, TOAJ Nigeria Limited will channel its N150 million export/trade finance facility towards the sourcing and purchase of cocoa for export.
“The injection of these finances into the poultry and cocoa value chains in Cross River State will create a positive knock-on effect for players along each segment of both value chains and the agribusinesses’ host communities at large.
“Specifically, the purchase of 25,000 Point of Lay birds by Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited will impact poultry feeds sellers and other inputs suppliers in the pre-upstream value chain segment; producers/sellers of Point of Lay birds in the upstream segment, and consumers of eggs and spent layers in the downstream segment.”
He said a few weeks ago, NIRSAL supported ADT Russet Limited in Lagos with a 50 per cent credit guarantee on a N1.15 billion facility to source and export cocoa beans.
Abdulhameed said both projects were testaments to the fact that NIRSAL in its bid to realise its vision of “transforming the economy, delivering inclusive growth and positively impacting the lives of Nigerians” supported all sizes of businesses, whether small, medium or large across the country.
Abdulhameed said as a guarantor, “NIRSAL Plc intervention positively impacts both the lender and the borrower, as well as the overall economy, implying that the lender invests safely and earns competitive returns; the borrower’s capacity utilisation and productivity are increased, and the economy reaps the benefits of the backward integration occasioned by increased local production at the expense of importation of essential goods.”
He said TOAJ Nigeria Limited’s facility would support thousands of farmers who supplied its inventory by providing them with a secure, sustainable, and guaranteed off-take market. Furthermore, the export of cocoa would increase Nigeria’s stake in the global cocoa market and boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings, he stated.
Abdulhameed urged all agricultural value chain stakeholders in the South-south and the entire country to leverage NIRSAL’s CRG as the collateral required for getting commercial bank financing for their agribusinesses, no matter their size or location.
In his speech, Managing Director of Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited, Mr Vincent Egbona, revealed that it would have been difficult to service the loan they received from Union Bank but for NIRSAL’s Interest Drawback (IDB) scheme.
The company’s poultry department, which received the credit support, has 60,000 birds and runs an on-farm feed mill with four tons capacity mixer per hour.
Egbona decried the high cost of raw materials and other agricultural inputs in the country.
On his part, Managing Director, TOAJ Nigeria Limited, Mr Taiwo Sunday, said NIRSAL’s support had helped the company to acquire a 5,000 MT-capacity warehouse in Osogbo as the company expanded its frontiers to the South-west for the purpose of export. Sunday said with NIRSAL’s support, it could now engage more farmers, procure more cocoa, and employ more staff.
Union Bank Plc’s Area Business Executive, Mr Peter Akpaudoh, stressed the value in the suite of NIRSAL’s value offerings.
Beyond the credit risk guarantee provided to Gbagolo Farms, NIRSAL was also offering technical assistance and round-the-clock project monitoring, a package that really made lending to agriculture and agribusiness easy.
Sterling Bank Plc, financiers of TOAJ Nigeria Limited, who had a representative at the launch of its Business Executive, Commercial, South-east, Mr Uchenna Agbowo, said at 10 per cent interest, Sterling Bank had the highest loan book for agriculture among commercial banks in Nigeria. Agbowo stated that the bank had been enjoying NIRSAL’s support and would continue to count on NIRSAL for the safety of their agribusiness investments.