From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) has completed training and mentoring programs for an additional 780 farmers and other agricultural value chain actors across the country as part of its ongoing efforts to improve the yield, capacity and general productivity of Nigerian farmers. .
According to NIRSAL spokesperson Anne Ihugba, the programs, which took place in the six geopolitical zones, were a continuation of efforts to achieve a key element of NIRSAL PLc’s mandate: reducing the risks of agricultural value chain to encourage more investment in agribusiness by the financial sector.
“NIRSAL’s Strategic Business Support Services (SBSS) training sessions series are part of NIRSAL Plc’s technical assistance pillar aimed at building the capacity of value chain actors to improve production, handling, processing and marketing of agricultural products.
“The sessions focused on ten Products of Interest (COIs) that have ecological and economic benefits in each region. The products include rice, ginger, maize, fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV), cassava, beans, aquaculture, oil palm, cattle and cotton.
‘During the NIRSAL SBSS sessions, farmers as well as input suppliers, processors, transporters, exporters and traders of agricultural products were trained on modern and business oriented operations upstream, upstream, in the middle and downstream in order to achieve the micro & macroeconomic effects of improving farmers’ incomes and increasing gross domestic product (GDP).
The NIRSAL SBSS program identified farmers and value chain actors most in need of training, assessed value chain gaps, designed intervention approaches and implemented them; the main approach being a four-week mentoring program including classroom and field sessions, ”she explained.
She added that the choice of the selected products was informed by the NIRSAL map of the ecological zone of agricultural products (ACEA) that she developed and validated by the research institutes concerned. NIRSAL Plc believes that ACEA-compliant agricultural investments have the best chance of success in terms of production and sales.
“As a result, in the north-central Benue State SBSS focused on rice, ginger and maize, which are NIRSAL COIs that have the highest factor productivity in the state. .
“In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the SBSS has trained operators in the FFV value chain. The rationale for choosing FFV is based on the FCT’s urban consumption market. The training sessions took place in Kuje, Nyanya, Mararaba, Apo, Lugbe, Municipality, Gwagwalada, Dei-Dei and Abaji.
“In the south-south, the Rivers State SBSS has also focused on FFVs, 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 has been on the rice and cassava value chains. Rice, a commodity produced in all Nigerian states, was also the focus of the Rivers State SBSS exercise.
“Typical of states with large urban areas and high rainfall volumes, another FFV state is Lagos. Stakeholders were met on the Kosofe – Ikorodu, Iyana – Iba and Lekki – Ajah axes. In Ekiti State, through Ado-Ekiti, Orin Ekiti, Ijero and Ogbese, stakeholders in maize, fish, rice and oil palm, respectively, were met, ”added Ihugba.
The nationwide SBSS exercise continued in the northeast with Adamawa and Taraba states for actors in the integrated livestock and bean value chain, respectively.
The exercise culminated in Kaduna and Katsina states, both of which have a comparative advantage in producing high-quality and sought-after ginger and cotton, respectively. The actors of the value chain received training on production and packaging, as well as on serving not only the domestic market, but also on how to take advantage of an export market with enormous economic potential. for Nigeria.
Since its inception, NIRSAL Plc has provided training on good agronomic practices to more than 700,000 farmers and trained more than 2,600 middle managers and agricultural office officers from commercial banks.