As part of efforts to improve agricultural productivity and further de-risk Agriculture, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) have partnered to ensure Nigerian farmers receive timely agrometeorological information and advisory services for application in their operations.
The partnership will focus on the development of cropping calendars in line with NIRSAL’s focus commodities; creating and developing climate-smart programmes that fall within NIRSAL’s Agricultural Commodity Ecological Areas (ACEAs), and properly dimensioning climatic & atmospheric events from an agricultural standpoint.
With increasing changes in climatic conditions, weather patterns are continually being altered, bringing about irregularities in the duration of farming seasons and uncertainty in terms of ideal planting and harvesting times. The NIRSAL-NiMet partnership will provide farmers with reliable data that will enhance their production activities and protect financiers’ investments in agribusiness.
The partnership’s importance is made even more pertinent considering that agricultural activities are time-dependent, with delays causing significant drops in yields and revenues.
Speaking at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between NIRSAL and NiMet at NIRSAL’s Head Office in Abuja, NIRSAL’s Managing Director/CEO, Aliyu Abdulhameed revealed that NIRSAL’s objective was to support smallholder farmers, not only through finance facilitation, but also through training, financial advisory services, access to technology, and now, through provision of agrometeorological information which will guide farmers in their activities.
In Abdulhameed’s words, “Nigerian farmers have hitherto practiced agriculture based on dated practices, practices which cannot deliver the results required to reposition their incomes and livelihoods. However, with NIRSAL’s various technology-driven interventions, and now, with our collaboration with NiMet, we are exposing farmers to new methods which they are embracing. Why? Because these new approaches make financial sense.
Abdulhameed expressed his confidence that the newly established partnership would play a vital role in ensuring that Nigerian farmers are better positioned to make informed decisions in terms of planting, harvesting and other weather-reliant agricultural activities. This, he enthused, would certainly aid NIRSAL in realizing its vision of transforming the economy, delivering inclusive growth and impacting lives.
Also speaking at the event, NiMet’s Director-General/CEO, Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi noted that the partnership with NIRSAL was a perfect fit for NiMet’s mandate of promoting the service of meteorology in agricultural activities and provision of meteorology consultancy services.
He added that NiMet would provide the necessary support to NIRSAL to reach as many farmers possible by designing and developing strategies for disseminating agrometeorological information to the country’s farmers, leveraging on technology.
Furthermore, Mashi assured that NiMet would work with NIRSAL to develop specific cropping calendars in line with NIRSAL’s focus commodities and provide the required agrometeorological information in accordance with NIRSAL’s ACEAs.
In addition to segmenting the Agricultural value chain into the pre-upstream, upstream, midstream, and downstream segments, NIRSAL’s intervention efforts are focused on select commodities arrived at due to their comparative advantage in terms of industrial demand, export value and consumer demand.
They include 5 Industrial commodities including Value-added Maize, Soya, Wheat, Cassava and Cotton; 4 Export commodities including Value-added Hibiscus, Sesame, Ginger and Shea; 3 Consumer commodities including Rice, Irish & Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato and High Iron Beans; 2 Controlled Environment Agricultural Commodities including Fresh Fruits & Vegetables and Aquaculture; Integrated Livestock Commodity; and lastly, Value-added Sugarcane & Cashew.
NIRSAL has also identified and mapped ACEAs leveraging innovation, technology, research and development. NIRSAL’s ACEAs are geographical locations lying within or beyond state boundaries where NIRSAL’s focus commodities have the comparative advantage to produce the highest yields with the least possible cost due to factor productivity (land, labour/human capital, water, soil and climatic suitability).