The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) says out of the 82 million hectares of arable land in Nigeria, only 34 million is being currently cultivated and of the cultivated land, only 1% is irrigated, adding that this is not a good signal for food sufficiency in the country.
According to Engineer Baba Oliver Robert of NIRSAL, who made the disclosure at the North-west Farmer’s Forum in Kano, the quest for remarkable boost in agricultural productivity in Nigeria by the Buhari administration is not merely for its own sake, but for the economic well-being of the country, adding that NIRSAL aims to increase the number of farmers who have access to lending to 3.8 million by 2026.
While he explained that finance is still a major challenge to agriculture in Nigeria, he lamented that the total annual bank loans to the sector is about 3.3%.
“So NIRSAL plans to catalyse the agricultural value chain through the development of financial and technical resources to de-risk the sector and make deposit money banks more comfortable to lend to agriculture.
He said “it is good to that NIRSAL exist for the individual rural farmer and for the conglomerates that are into food processing.
“We also exist for local and the federal governments, and for foreign investors seeking a place in Nigeria,” he added.