The Nigeria incentive-based risk sharing system for agricultural lending, NIRSAL, says it has in the course of the last 13 months, facilitated the flow of over N30 billion into agricultural value chains from commercial banks and other sources.
NIRSAL CEO, Aliyu Abdulhameed who revealed this at an interactive session with media owners said that “Even though our operations suffered a stall during the lockdown of 2020, our technological depth gave us a pathway to return to work while remaining safe and socially-distanced. As you know, it was important to continue, even increase, food and raw materials production as the pandemic bit harder.”
Abdulhameed said that as enablers of actors in the agricultural value chain, NIRSAL remained operational for those who were allowed by the Federal Government to move around for the purpose of producing food and rendering essential services in the society.
By remaining operational, the CEO said that its numbers grew: As at Q4 2020, we had achieved the following: Facilitated over NGN148billion in finance and investments for agriculture and agribusiness.
and aggregated over 3,000 agro geo-cooperatives with 500,000 farmers on nearly 800,000 hectares of land as well as enrolled 1.4 million persons onto innovative insurance products designed by NIRSAL in collaboration with a consortium of agricultural insurance underwriters.
“We have also been up to some high-level advocacy. To curb the dismal levels of post-harvest losses that Nigeria suffers, and create efficient routes for commodity movement and storage, we are engaging with and supporting the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in the development of a policy on Secured Agricultural Commodity Transport and Storage Corridors (SATS-C).
“While pursuing our mandate that translates to positively impacting Nigeria’s economy, we have been building a world class corporate entity too. In the past year, we further improved NIRSAL’s structure and systems, maintained compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standards and successfully implemented the Balanced Scorecard performance management approach to tap the best from our talented employees.
“Along the line, we have grown our balance sheet to N140billion, our equity by 1,415% and our total assets by 87%. The number of farmers we have worked with has also grown, especially as we fully unveiled our Agro Geo-Cooperative model in the outgone year.
Aliyu Abdulhameed said that a year on from when “we first met in a similar gathering, we are here again to discuss NIRSAL and its place in the economic scheme of things of this great nation.
“In staking our claim for where we belong in this economy, the media is an indispensable partner. For this reason, our corporate strategies every year include nurturing our relationship with the media so that NIRSAL can be represented truly and fairly at all times.
“While I regret that we could not meet in December as we planned – due largely to the pandemic – it is my pleasure to welcome you here and to have this interaction with you again. We acknowledge your busy schedules, so my team have structured this in such a way that we spend a short but quality time here.
“I want to recognize the challenges you all have faced in the last one year with the Coronavirus pandemic. Even though we have faced it too, courtesy demands that I offer my solidarity, given that your platforms were overrun by COVID-19 news – something that you are not used to, and would rather not be writing about.
“As I said, it gives me joy that we can sit together again and discuss NIRSAL, the Media, Nigeria and all the mutual subjects that connect us.
“We have used the media to communicate our plans and accomplishments to good effect. More people now know NIRSAL and what it stands for better than ever before. Your being here is so that we can continue to amplify our reach across the length and breadth of this country with your partnership.
“We have had detractors, as many others in a highly competitive society. While we welcome competition, we hope that the malicious lies and blackmails would cease, especially with support from you – our partners in the media.
“We as a people cannot afford to derail NIRSAL. It is a vehicle that promises so much to Nigeria, and is currently delivering remarkably. Distractions from vested interests are unwelcome to our work of supporting the building of a resilient economy in Africa’s most populous nation.”
Aliyu Abdulhameed said that the media are critical to the safety and growth of this nation. “What you allow to thrive in Nigeria’s media space becomes what shapes our common destiny. We feel compelled to prevail on you to reflect us in a light that is true, fair and progressive.
“As you know, this interaction is not a one-off. We shall continue to meet for this sort of direct engagement from time to time, so that NIRSAL’s voice can remain unadulterated in the media.”