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Delta Govt to partner with NIRSAL to create jobs – Okowa

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Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, says the state government will partner with Nigeria Incentive – Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) investment platform on Agriculture for jobs and wealth creation.

The governor stated this on Tuesday while declaring open a 2-Day Technical Engagement between NIRSAL and State Government organised by the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Asaba.

The governor represented by Mr Paul Nma, Chairman, Delta State Investment Development Agency (DIDA), said that NIRSAL’s goals and objectives were consistent with his administration’s vision to build a diversified economy through agriculture.

“As an institution with speciality in agricultural commodities value chain fixing, agribusiness project development, finance facilitation and agricultural risk management, the goals and objectives of NIRSAL are consistent with our visions to diversify our economy through agriculture.

“There cannot be a better incentive than a situation where commercial banks are covered by loan guarantees up to 70 per cent by default borrowers as currently the practice under NIRSAL’s special credit de-risking scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“As the net major employee of labour in the state, the agriculture sector occupies the pride of place in the policy priority of our administration.

“It is our desire, therefore, to leverage on the favourable investment platform of NIRSAL on the agricultural value chain for the purpose of jobs and wealth creation.

“We are determined to give the necessary support and incentive to all stakeholders, from the upstream to the downstream segments of the agricultural value chain,” Okowa said.

He noted that other ongoing agricultural interventions in the state include the FADAMA III project, CBN-Anchor Borrowers Scheme, the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme and the Feed the Future Agricultural Policy Project.

He advised the participants to come up with new and appropriate initiatives that will facilitate the development of agricutural business models suitable for identifiable area of collaboration.

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For his part, Mr Julius Egbedi, State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that the workshop was organised to enlighten stakeholders on agricultural transformation agenda of the state government, the products and services offered by NIRSAL for sustainable agricultural growth and development.

He said that the ministry has over the years been able to identify area of comparative advantage to include crops (oil palm, cassava, Maize), aquaculture and livestock.

He said that the state government had procured over 20 number tractors and had collaborated with the traditional rulers and local government chairmen to increase stock of farm land to ensure ease of doing agribusiness

“Essentially, NIRSAL, a parastatal of CBN helps to minimise risks associated with agriculture and agribusiness and provides several agribusiness models.

“In the light of the forgoing and considering the specialised services that NIRSAL offers in mitigating risk in agribusiness, the state government deemed it necessary to to collaborate with NIRSAL to fashion out models to de-risk agribusiness in the state,” he said.

Mr Eze Nwakanma, Assistant General Manager, Agricultural Value Chain, Finance and Investment, NIRSAL, urged the farmers to form cooperatives and work as a group to ease access to finance.

He assured that the agency would partner with Delta government to drive the agribusiness on the priority areas, while pledging its support to secure financing for viable agricultural products in the state.

The workshop was attended by large number of participating farmers from across the state.

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