By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A N50 billion agriculture financing agreement has been signed by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Stanbic IBTC Bank.
The deal is for the 2017/2018 dry and wet season and will cover NIRSAL supported projects in livestock, crops, mechanization, logistics and poultry.
It was gathered that Stanbic IBTC has committed an initial N10 billion for the take-off of the scheme and would be expanded gradually as milestones are achieved.
Under the terms of the partnership, NIRSAL will provide credit guarantees to cover up to 75 percent of Stanbic IBTC loans to bankable agricultural projects using its $300 million Risk Sharing Facility.
Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, explained that the partnership was in continuation of agency’s efforts to boost agricultural productivity and modernization by facilitating increased bank lending to the sector.
He further explained that first phase of the scheme is expected to create over 92,000 direct jobs, impact about 200,000 lives, boost incomes of rural farmers and complement government’s efforts to drive inclusive economic growth through agriculture.
He disclosed that it would also lead to the cultivation of an additional 11,195 hectares of arable land, increase the National Food Output by up to 50,580MT in yield and provide N3.87 billion value addition.
“This partnership marks the start of NIRSAL’s long term collaboration with Stanbic IBTC to ensure that commercial agriculture is entrenched and made a mainstream occupation.
“It is a testament to our shared vision for agriculture as a profitable enterprise and a key driver of the Nigerian economy.
“We are committed to providing Stanbic IBTC with the cover to lend to agriculture and are happy that its management has agreed to partner with us on this project,” the NIRSAL chief said.
On his part, chief executive of Stanbic IBTC, Dr Demola Sogunle, said his bank partnered with NIRSAL because of its believe in the agricultural sector, which used to be Nigeria’s major source of foreign exchange because the discovery of crude oil.
He said Stanbic IBTC will continue to support farmers so as to boost the economy, which just moved out of recession.
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