*PILOT PROJECTS TO PRODUCE 22,000 NEW JOBS, GUARANTEE N1,000,000 INDIVIDUAL FARMER INCOME PER YEAR
In continuation of its efforts to increase incomes of smallholder farmers who constitute 75 percent of the country’s farming population, the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) is partnering with ACDI/VOCA, a United States based economic development organization whose focus is catalyzing investment into agriculture and raising living standards of local communities.
The pilot project under the partnership are projected to produce 80,000 tonnes of maize, rice and soybeans, create 22,000 new jobs across the value chains and ensure individual farmer income of N1,000,000 per year for beneficiaries.
NIRSAL & ACDI/VOCA will collaborate in the areas of providing access to finance, input supply, farmer training on best practices as well as facilitation of efficient irrigation to ensure success of the project.
As a first step, NIRSAL and ACDI/VOCA hosted a workshop on building practical synergies for inclusive agricultural development in rural communities drew participants from different aspects of the agricultural value chain.
Speaking at the workshop which had various businesses from the agricultural value chain in attendance, the Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr. Abdulhameed, stated that “We must urgently begin to work with smallholder farmers to enhance their capacity so that they become commercially viable business entities whose businesses are economically sustainable”.
He further said that NIRSAL’s mandate and focus on making agriculture more profitable for smallholder farmers aligns with ACDI/VOCA commitment to improving the livelihoods of rural communities.
In his words: “I am pleased to partner with ACDI/VOCA on this project. NIRSAL will provide the leadership to start the process and make it a reality for the benefit of our local farmers. As the producers of the food that the nation feeds on, they deserve strong support and should also get decent reward for their produce. It is my expectation that this partnership will make significant contribution to other efforts that we are currently pursuing in this direction”
Mr. Olaf Kula, the Senior Agribusiness Advisor and Country Rep of ACDI/VOCA, emphasised the importance of making agriculture appealing to youth as one of the fundamental reasons for creating Alliance for Agriculture. He said, “If you can’t make money from a farm there’s little incentive for youth to venture into agriculture. We’re not going to be able to feed the globe if young people are fleeing from the rural centres to the cities”.