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NIRSAL, World Bank sign pact on $200m projects


The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), has signed a Memorandum of Agreement and Action (MoA) with the World Bank on Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), a $200million World Bank-funded project for the development, financing, and support of de-risked and optimised agribusiness projects in Nigeria.

Under the terms of the APPEALS objectives, NIRSAL, is expected to present its Tools, Techniques, Methodologies and strategic Partnerships (TTMPs), according to its Mapping to Markets (M2M) strategy.

This is aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers, and improving value addition along the cassava, cashew, rice, poultry, aquaculture, cocoa, wheat, tomato, maize, ginger, and dairy value chains in a sustainable manner.

The project, which is to be deployed in Cross River, Enugu, Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna, and Kano states, targets 60,000 beneficiaries, and 360,000 farm households as indirect beneficiaries, NIRSAL said in a statement.

It is also anticipated that 35 per cent of direct beneficiaries (or 21,000 individuals) will be women, as the project has a dedicated sub-component to benefit women and youth that will allow them develop agri-businesses to create jobs and improve their livelihoods.

The Managing Director/CEO of NIRSAL Plc, Aliyu Abdulhameed, was quoted as assuring of the agency’s reliability as a capable partner that shares the project’s objective of enhancing agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers, and improving value addition along priority value chains in participating states.

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NIRSAL will “deploy its technologies towards the formation of Agro-Geo-Cooperatives for selected commodity value chains through geospatial mapping, soil suitability tests, BVN enrolment for farmers in addition to the creation of Virtual Asset Titles (VAsT), establishment of field governance structures, and training of farmers on good agronomic practices, team dynamics and social engineering,” Abdulhameed was quoted.

He continued, “NIRSAL will also link producers to relevant consumer, industrial and export markets through value chain roundtables, business deal facilitation meetings, and legally binding trade documentation.”

He added that NIRSAL will work with the state teams to structure agribusiness projects patterned after agreed sustainable models for APPEALS’ financing, while deploying NIRSAL’s partnerships and models for technology demonstration and adoption.
Also, to protect primary producers under the project from losses due to pest, diseases, adverse weather conditions and general drops in expected yields, NIRSAL will deploy its Area Yield Index Insurance product.

Furthermore, to ensure business sustainability, NIRSAL will extend technical advice to APPEALS with a view to instilling business discipline, adoption of a mandatory savings culture, and reinvestment of profits for sustainability and expansion in the beneficiaries.

The National Project Coordinator, APPEALS Project and Director of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr Amin Babandi, described the collaboration as a “turning point” in the project’s life cycle.

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This, he noted, would bring about improvement in livelihood for which APPEALS was created.
On his part, the World Bank Task Team Leader, APPEALS Project, Dr. Sheu Salau, thanked NIRSAL for supporting the project with its technological know-how, expertise, and depth of knowledge in agribusiness.

He said APPEALS would focus on production and productivity enhancement; primary processing, value addition, post-harvest management and women and youth empowerment; infrastructure support to agri-business clusters; technical assistance, knowledge management and communication; and project management and coordination.

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