August 8, 2018, Abuja, Nigeria – NIRSAL Plc and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) have signed an agreement to jointly deliver on the project imperatives of creating Climate Risk Profiles in Nigeria. The Project is aimed at providing an overview of climate risk issues and other vulnerabilities across agro-ecological zones in the country as well as indications of how climate change will potentially impact agricultural production, water resources, energy and human health.
NIRSAL’s partnership with CIAT is in line with its commitment to contribute to the realization of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets as ratified at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and consented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, and in its push for the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices in Nigeria.
In his speech at the signing ceremony, the Managing Director/CEO of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, stated that the agreement with CIAT will ensure that all climate risks that can jeopardize the future of the Agriculture Sector are dimensioned and adequately addressed. He explained that the profiles derived from NIRSAL’s work with CIAT would be used to improve the operations of smallholder farmers through NIRSAL’s existing engagement structures that stretch from Commodity Endemic Areas within Agro-ecological zones, down through Agro Geo-clusters, Agro Geo-cooperatives, to individual smallholders in Agro Geo-cooperative Cells of 50 hectares each.
He took the opportunity of the signing to further enlighten stakeholders and invited guests about NIRSAL, confirming that the USD500million Central Bank Corporation created to Redefine, Measure, Re-Price and Share agribusiness-related credit risk has facilitated funding from commercial banks for agribusiness across the value chain to the tune of USD375million, trained over 700,000 farmers on good agronomic practices and financial education, and provided high quality agricultural inputs and affordable finance to more than 500,000 smallholder farmers under 3 farming seasons between 2017 and 2018.
According to Abdulhameed, effective decision-making is crucial to the success of any business, hence, creating Climate Risk Profiles will strengthen existing decision support systems in agriculture and present a more palatable investment atmosphere to investors. It will also build, he said, the capacity of stakeholders for identifying and managing climate risks in agribusiness, facilitate the development of robust response plans and programs for a climate-resilient Agricultural Sector.
He finished by stating that, with all the aforementioned done, multiple channels would be opened up for the inflow of additional finance into climate-smart agricultural approaches from development finance sources such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund.
The African Director of CIAT, Dr. Debisi Araba, in his remarks, took out time to explain CIAT’s involvement in the generation of sub-national climate risk profile reports for Kenya which are instrumental in triggering a USD250million World Bank fund earmarked for climate change mitigation through agriculture. The capabilities of CIAT, Dr. Araba said, include the ability to anticipate climatic variations, leading to smart agricultural risk management.
CIAT can look forward to achieving great success with Nigeria, given that the country has different Agro-ecological zones with narrowing spectra of possible climate risks. Dr. Araba pointed out that, behind the framework of NIRSAL’s engagement with smallholder farmers in the fields, the partnership would serve as an engine room generating Climate Risk Profiles and churning out internationally validated risk metrics that would inform interest rates, insurance premiums and, consequently, commodity prices and investment decisions. Also present at the signing was the Honourable Minister of Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, represented by the Director of the Department of Climate Change, Dr. Peter Tarfa. The Minister, while expressing the Ministry’s support for the project partnership between NIRSAL and CIAT, noted that the ministry’s support is inspired by the fact that close to 30% of the NDC Goals for Nigeria are achievable via sectoral focus on agriculture alone.