President Muhammadu Buhari has taken more deliberate steps in keeping the promise of making agricultural development a priority for Nigeria as two critical Agencies of the Federal Government today in Abuja entered into agreement to promote a comprehensive agricultural mechanization and agro-agribusiness value chain in order to transform the Agricultural sector of the country.

The details of the Partnership include while the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), a company solely owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), will guarantee finance or credit and also share investment risks with entrepreneurs who are committed to the development of the Agricultural sector, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in the Presidency will concentrate on coming up with appropriate research and engineering innovations including machineries, scientific and technologies required to resolve the challenges facing mechanization and the development of the Agricultural value chains.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman/CE of NASENI Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna “the Nigerian farmers and those involved in Agri-Business are the primary beneficiaries of the scheme”.

In his speech, the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NIRSAL on behalf of the Federal Government said NASENI and NIRSAL had been working together before now through the Agency’s partnership with another private company, Machine Equipment Corporation of Africa (MECA) which had led to the successful implementation of pilot phase of the National Tractor Recovery and Refurbishment Programme , adding that based on the successful implementation of the pilot of the progamme in Niger state since 2018, NASENI desired to strengthen its relationship with NIRSAL through the signing of the MoU.

While pointing out the focus of the collaboration which are the production of solar-powered irrigation systems, research and development into renewable energy systems, production of component parts and agricultural machineries that support agriculture practices and farming, and enhanced food security amongst other strategic needs, Engr.M.S. Haruna disclosed that this venture would give him great joy to brief President Buhari on the collaboration between the two parties as it centers on his directive to NASENI to deploy all refurbished tractors to states for mechanized farming and development of agro value chain in the country.

He said, “NIRSAL’s roles in the successful implementation of this programme and Presidential directive cannot be overemphasized since NIRSAL is the only agency of the government purposely set up for de-risking agricultural lending”.

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director of NIRSAL Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed said that NIRSAL had in time realized that for sustainable growth and development to be achieved, in the agricultural sector, key collaborations and partnerships are required to deliver targeted interventions in the sector “ therefore in continuation of delivery on our mandate of providing end-to-end solutions aimed at fixing breakages along the Agricultural Value Chains (AVC) in Nigeria, we at NIRSAL Plc are glad to partner with NASENI to ensure that there are sustainable fixes to identify challenges facing the Agribusiness sector in Nigeria”.

He noted that the collaboration will go a long way in maximizing the agricultural potentials of the country, thereby contributing to the achievement of food security, including economic growth, diversification and employment generation.

According to him, many of the technologies developed for agriculture have inherent challenges which results in inability to commercialize and sustain them, noting that the ongoing partnership between NIRSAL Plc and NASENI was aimed at addressing those factors especially through two key schemes: NIRSAL-NASENI Comprehensive Tractor Recovery Scheme and the NIRSAL Climate Modular Geo-Cooperative-Based Irrigation System for Smallholder Farmers.

“Other challenges where the collaboration will address include: the technological capacity of NASENI in the area of solar modules production which therefore forms a critical backbone in the provision of off-grid energy to power modular irrigation and agro-processing clusters that are domiciled within NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative clusters. Beyond the above, NIRSAL Plc will rely on NASENI to create innovative agricultural, technical and engineering solutions that are adaptable to various needs for optimized production across Agricultural Value Chain”, he further explained.

Mr. Abdulhameed pointed out that NIRSAL in order to support the partnership will provide 75% Credit Risk Guarantee to banks and investors for the scale up phase of the programme after the NCIS proof of concept phase has demonstrated technical and economic viability, provide Project Monitoring and Remediation Services to NASENI for the scheme and projects arising from the collaboration as well as provide technical assistance, capacity building and advisory services to NASENI or relevant stakeholders for the programme amongst other supports.

According to him, better days lie ahead for Nigerian farmers and those who are engaged in related agriculture practices or agri-business.

Olusegun Ayeoyenikan
Deputy Director, Information

View event images in gallery