Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) has completed training and mentorship programmes for additional 780 farmers and other agricultural value chain actors across the country.
NIRSAL said it is part of efforts to improve the capacity and productivity of Nigerian farmers.
The programmes which were held in Nigeria’s six geo-political zones are a continuation of efforts targeted at achieving a key component of NIRSAL Plc’s mandate: de-risking of the agricultural value chain in order to encourage more investments in agribusiness by the financial sector.
The series of training sessions under the NIRSAL strategic business support services (SBSS) are a part of its technical assistance pillar aimed at building the capacity of value chain actors for improved production, handling, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities.
The sessions focused on 10 commodities of interest that have ecological and economic advantages in each region. The commodities include rice, ginger, maize, fresh fruit and vegetables, cassava, beans, aquaculture, oil palm, livestock and cotton.
Farmers as well as input suppliers, processors, transporters, exporters, and traders of agricultural products were trained on modern, business-oriented pre-upstream, upstream, midstream and downstream operations with a view to achieving the micro and macroeconomic effects of farmer income enhancement and gross domestic product increase.
The NIRSAL programme identified farmers and value chain actors most in need of training, assessed value chain gaps, designed intervention approaches and implemented the same; the main approach being a four-week long mentorship programme comprising in-class and field sessions.
NIRSAL said the choice of the selected commodities was informed by its 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.
In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the SBSS trained operators in the FFV Value Chain. The rationale for selecting FFV is 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.
From South South, South East to North Central and South West, the training focused on distinct farm products.
In the South-East, focus was on rice and cassava value chains. Rice, a commodity produced in every Nigerian state, was also under focus in Rivers State SBSS exercise.