The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) says it has completed training and mentorship programmes for additional 780 farmers and other agricultural value chain actors across the country.
Head, Corporate Communication, NIRSAL Plc, Ann Ihugba, disclosed this in a statement on Monday, in Abuja.
Ihugba said this was part of NIRSAL ongoing efforts to improve the capacity and productivity of the Nigerian farmers.
She explained that the programmes held in the six geo-political zones were a continuation of efforts targeted at achieving a key component of NIRSAL PLc’s mandate of de-risking of the agricultural value chain
According to her, the efforts are to encourage more investment in agribusiness by the financial sector.
Ihugba said the series of training sessions under the NIRSAL Strategic Business Support Services (SBSS) were part of NIRSAL Plc’s Technical Assistance pillar.
She said this was aimed at building the capacity of value chain actors for improved production, handling, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities.
She said that the sessions took place in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and focused on ten Commodities of Interest (COI) that have ecological and economic advantages in each region.
“The commodities include Rice, Ginger, Maize, Fresh Fruit & Vegetables (FFV), Cassava, Beans, Aquaculture, Oil Palm, Livestock and Cotton,” she said.
” During the NIRSAL SBSS sessions, farmers as well as input suppliers, processors, transporters, exporters, and traders of agricultural products were trained on modern, business-oriented pre-upstream, and upstream.
” They were also trained on midstream and downstream operations with a view to achieving the micro & macroeconomic effects of farmer income enhancement and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase,” she said.
Ihugba said that the NIRSAL SBSS programme identified farmers and value chain actors most in need of training, assessed value chain gaps, designed intervention approaches and implemented the same.
She said the main approach was a four-week long mentorship programme comprising in-class and field sessions,” she said.
” The choice of the selected commodities was informed by the NIRSAL Agricultural Commodity Ecological Area (ACEA) map which it developed and obtained validation for from relevant research institutes.
”NIRSAL Plc believes that ACEA-compliant agricultural investments hold the highest chances for success in terms of production and sale.
“Accordingly, in the North-Central, the Benue State SBSS focused on Rice, Ginger and Maize, which are NIRSAL COIs that possess the highest factor productivity in the state,” she said.
She said that in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the SBSS trained operators in the FFV Value Chain adding that the rationale for selecting FFV was hinged on the FCT’s urban consumer market.
” The training sessions took place in Kuje, Nyanya, Mararaba, Apo, Lugbe, the Municipal, Gwagwalada, Dei-Dei, and Abaji.
” In the South-South, the Rivers State SBSS focused on FFVs as well, in addition to Aquaculture. Stakeholders were trained in Rumuola, Wenpey, Aluu, Enekah, Elekahia, Eleme, Mgbuoba, Elelenwo, Igwuruta, Eliozu, and Rumuodomaya.
” In the South-East, the focus was on the Rice and Cassava Value Chains. Rice, a commodity produced in every Nigerian state, was also under focus in the Rivers State SBSS exercise,” she said.
She said that the nationwide SBSS exercise continued in the North-East with Adamawa and Taraba States for Integrated Livestock and Beans Value Chain actors, respectively.
She said the exercise culminated in Kaduna and Katsina States, both with comparative advantage in the production of high-quality, in-demand Ginger and Cotton.
Ihugba said value chain actors received training on the production and packaging, as well as on the servicing of not only the domestic market but also on ways to take advantage of an export market with huge economic potentials for Nigeria.
She said NIRSAL Plc since its inception, had provided training on Good Agronomic Practices to over 700,000 farmers and trained over 2,600 mid-management and Agric desk officers of commercial banks.