NIRSAL boosts agric sector with N128b loans

Managing Director, Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited, Vincent Egbona (left); Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc), Aliyu Abdulhameed; Area Business Executive, Union Bank Plc, Peter Akpaudoh and Representative of Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited, Eugene Okpara, at the launch of Gbagolo Farms in Calabar…on Friday.

The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing Systems for Agricultural Lending Plc (NIRSAL Plc) has provided over N128 billion in loans for agriculture and agribusiness across the country since its inception 10 years ago.

Head, Corporate Communications, Anne Ihugba, disclosed this in a statement, at the weekend, after the launch of Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited and TOAJ Nigeria Limited at Ikot Akwa Edem Umo, Akpabuyo Local Government Area, Cross River State.

Managing Director of NIRSAL Plc, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, was quoted as saying: “This huge investment translates to the creation of jobs, driving the growth of rural economies, and positively impacting Nigerian lives.”

He said the latest in the list of over 800 beneficiaries across the country are Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited and TOAJ Nigeria Limited, which have received N232 million, sourced from Union and Sterling Banks, for poultry production and cocoa export in Cross River.

“This follows the issuance of a 50 per cent Credit Risk Guarantee (CRG) and 20 per cent Interest Drawback (IDB) by NIRSAL Plc on the respective loans of Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited (a livestock producer) and TOAJ Nigeria Limited (a cocoa dealer).”

He disclosed that few weeks ago, NIRSAL Plc supported ADT Russet Ltd in Lagos with a 50 per cent credit guarantee on a N1.15 billion facility to source and export cocoa beans.

Leveraging on its CRG, an instrument NIRSAL Plc utilises to share agribusiness risks with financiers, Abdulhameed said: “NIRSAL Plc facilitated the approval and disbursement of N81.8 million and N150 million from Union Bank Plc and Sterling Bank Plc respectively (and) while 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 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 and other input 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.”

TOAJ Nigeria Limited’s facility will support thousands of farmers who supply its inventory by providing them with a secure, sustainable and guaranteed off-take market. Furthermore, the export of cocoa will increase Nigeria’s stake in the global cocoa market and boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

Abdulhameed noted that both projects are testaments to the fact that NIRSAL Plc in its bid to realise its vision of “transforming the economy, delivering inclusive growth and positively impacting the lives of Nigerians” supports all sizes of businesses, whether small, medium or large across the length and breadth of the country.

Abdulhameed said, as a guarantor, “NIRSAL Plc’s intervention positively impacts both the lender and the borrower as well as the overall economy, implying that the lender invests safely and earns competitive returns, the borrower’s capacity utilisation 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 on NIRSAL’s CRG as the collateral required for getting commercial bank financing for their agribusinesses, no matter their size or location.

In his speech, Managing Director of Gbagolo Integrated Farms Limited Mr. Vincent Egbona, said it would have been difficult to service the loan they received from Union Bank but for NIRSAL’s Interest Drawback (IDB) scheme. The company’s poultry department, which received the credit support, has 60,000 birds and runs an on-farm feed mill with four tons capacity mixer per hour. He also decried the high cost of raw materials and other agricultural input in the country.

On his part, Managing Director of TOAJ Nigeria Limited, Mr. Taiwo Sunday, said NIRSAL’s support has helped the company to acquire a 5,000 MT-capacity warehouse in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

He said the company has 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.

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