By Benson Ezugwu
The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) has restated its commitment to realising its vision of “transforming the economy, delivering inclusive growth and positively impacting the lives of Nigerians”.
Aliyu Abdulhameed, NIRSAL Plc’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, said this in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday.
He is quoted as making the commitment during the official launch of the Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited and TOAJ Nigeria Limited projects in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Abdulhameed said the NIRSAL, in its bid to actualise its vision, supports all sizes of businesses, whether small, medium or large across the length and breadth of the country, and both projects were testaments to this.
With both projects, the poultry and cocoa value chains in Cross River State received a boost that is expected to generate significant gains for the local and national economies.
This follows the issuance of a 50% Credit Risk Guarantee (CRG) and 20% Interest Drawback (IDB) by the NIRSAL Plc on the respective loans of Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited – a livestock producer and TOAJ Nigeria Limited – a cocoa dealer.
Leveraging on its CRG – an instrument that NIRSAL Plc utilises to share agribusiness risks with financiers – NIRSAL Plc facilitated the approval and disbursement of N81.8 million and N150 million from Union Bank Plc and Sterling Bank Plc respectively.
Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited will use its N81.8 million Term Loan to finance the purchase of 25,000 Point of lay birds, 25,000 capacity battery cages and feeding compliments.
TOAJ Nigeria Limited, on its part, will channel its N150 million Export/Trade Finance facility towards the sourcing and purchase of cocoa for export.
“The injection of these finances into the poultry and cocoa value chains in Cross River State will create a positive knock-on effect for players along each segment of both value chains and the agribusinesses’ host communities at large.
“Specifically, the purchase of 25,000 Point of Lay birds by Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited will impact poultry feeds sellers & other inputs suppliers in the pre-upstream Value Chain segment; producers/sellers of Point of Lay birds in the upstream segment, and consumers of Eggs and Spent Layers in the downstream segment,” the statement said.
Abdulhameed said that, as a guarantor, NIRSAL Plc’s intervention positively impacts both the lender and the borrower, as well as the overall economy.
This, according to him, implies that the lender invests safely and earns competitive returns; the borrower’s capacity utilization and productivity is increased, and the economy reaps the benefits of the backward integration occasioned by increased local production at the expense of importation of essential goods.
He urged all agricultural value chain stakeholders in the South-South region and the entire country to leverage NIRSAL’s CRG as the collateral required for getting commercial bank financing for their agribusinesses.
The TOAJ Nigeria Limited’s facility is expected to support the thousands of farmers who supply its inventory by providing them with a secure, sustainable, and guaranteed offtake market.
According to NIRSAL, the export of cocoa will increase Nigeria’s stake in the global cocoa market and boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
The statement quoted Mr. Peter Akpaudoh, Union Bank Plc’s Area Business Executive, who was also present at the launch event, as stressing the value in the suite of NIRSAL’s value offerings.
Mr. Uchenna Agbowo, Business Executive, Commercial, South-East, Sterling Bank Plc, financiers of TOAJ Nigeria Limited, is quoted as saying that, at 10%, the bank had the highest loan book for agriculture amongst commercial banks in Nigeria.
He stated that the bank had been enjoying NIRSAL’s support and would continue to count on it for the safety of their agribusiness investments.
According to the Managing Director, TOAJ Nigeria Limited, Mr. Taiwo Sunday, NIRSAL’s support has helped the company to acquire a 5,000 MT-capacity warehouse in Osogbo.
He said that the company had been expanding its frontiers to the South-West for the purpose of export and, with NIRSAL’s support, it can now engage more farmers, procure more cocoa, and employ more staff.
Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited and TOAJ Nigeria Limited are among hundreds of agribusinesses that have been supported by NIRSAL Plc to boost their operations.
Only weeks ago, NIRSAL Plc said it supported ADT Russet Ltd in Lagos with a 50% credit guarantee on a N1.15 billion facility to source and export cocoa beans.
With these projects, NIRSAL Plc says it has now facilitated over N128 billion for agriculture and agribusiness across the country since its inception.
This, it said, translates to the creation of jobs, driving the growth of rural economies, and positively impacting Nigerian lives.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)