*TOP FERILIZER FIRM, JAIZ BANK, MICRO-FINANCE BANK ETC SIGN ON TO FAM-SMART
Governor Godwin Obaseki has expressed optimism about an imminent boost in employment as the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has flagged off its market-led and technology-driven system of primary agriculture production, FAM-SMART in Edo State.
Speaking at the inauguration of the project in the 140-hectare pilot project in the Ossiomo Industrial Park, an elated Obaseki said:
“When I campaigned to be governor, one of the things I promised was that I was going to create a minimum of 200,000 jobs in in my first term in office. And I had no doubt in my mind that those jobs were not going to come from Government House, that they were going to come from projects in agriculture, in services, in industry. So you (NIRSAL) are making my dream happen today”.
Enthused the governor: “NIRSAL, you have a partner in the Edo State government as we fully understand your mandate and we are ready to commit our resources to achieve food sufficiency/security and inputs sufficiency for industries we wish to attract to our state.”
FAM-SMART is an acronym that stands for: “Farm Aggregation Model for Smallholder Agriculture based on Technology”. It is a system of Primary Production Agriculture designed by NIRSAL for Smallholder Farmers that relies on 3 principles:
2. Structured group dynamic and
3. Proportionate cost and profit sharing
All with The objective of achieving economies of scale, maximum output and maximum profit and these are precisely the propositions that are attractive to providers of finance, investment and direct input capital
Explaining the rationale, operation and benefits of the unique model, Managing Director/CEO of NIRSAL, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed stated: “Through FAM-SMART, NIRSAL packages contiguous farmlands of 100-250 hectares, operated by 100-250 smallholder farmers with financial identities and Virtual Asset Titles (VAsT) are created using Geospatial Mapping technology. The centralized input supplies, mechanization and pre-agreed off-take terms with the markets for pre-specified quality and quantity of products all supported by structured dynamics, the FAM-SMART model results in achieving economies of scale for primary production agriculture with optimized output and increased financial returns to smallholder farmers and yet without the drudgery and subsistence yield regimes normally associated with smallholder African agriculture”.
Abdulhameed added that FAM-SMART represents an exceptional opportunity for smart investors
“ With the creation of sizable financing tickets, with high yield and thus high cash flow assured, clear funds visibility and control within an almost cashless transaction system that is moreover supported by NIRSAL’s Credit Risk Guarantees, the FAM-SMART Model not only addresses previous risk perceptions and aversion of financiers and investors to primary production agriculture but, conversely, makes Primary production smallholder agriculture very attractive to financiers and investors…”
The attractiveness of FAM-SMART as an investment vehicle is fully supported by the underlying numbers. For instance, on a very conservative yield estimate of 5 tons per ha( on a yield potential of 10 tons per hectare) for maize under FAMSMART) produced by an initial number of 1000 geo-cooporatives (out of 16,000 planned nationwide) producing a gross output of 1,250,000 metric tonnes of grain, gross revenues of N125 billion are projected.
In a related development, arrangements by NIRSAL are now in top gear with a leading continental fertilizer firm in Africa to come on board under the FAMSMART business model. Also noteworthy is Letshego Microfinance Bank which has made an initial commitment of N2 billion to support the roll out of multiple FAM-SMART projects across the country in this 2018 Dry-Season along with Other Nigerian Commercial banks . This is in addition to the contribution of private sector agribusinesses – Syngenta, Seedco, TENETEN and ACT Agribusiness – which stand ready to continue providing various inputs and mechanization services for FAM-SMART projects, at scale, across the country
The launch of the Edo project is coming four days after the flag-off of the university-students version of FAM-SMART in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, specifically designed for tertiary institutions.
The Edo version by design and operation is also a FAM-SMART model that is tailored for smallholder farmers in rural communities nationwide who make up the overwhelming proportion of farmers in the country.
The Edo project which is being executed in collaboration with a local agribusiness firm, Greenacre Premium Agricultural Processing Company Ltd will actualize a fully mechanized and controlled primary production cycle encompassing the pre-upstream, mid-stream and downstream stages of production.
The fully integrated system within the industrial park will have all key infrastructure and primary production components working together to realise better outcomes in inputs, productivity and market for agribusiness.
The projection is that the project will boost the production of specific agricultural commodities, create direct and indirect jobs as well as catayze other benefits by enhancing synergies within the immediate community. Among the available synergies is a power plant which is under development and a 1.4km dredged river channel which enables irrigation and transportation within the park.