In line with the focus of the federal government on making agriculture a key anchor of economic diversification, the Nigerian Incentive Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) in partnership with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has unfolded a scheme to reduce the cost of transporting grains from the North to the South by over 20 per cent.
The Managing Director of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed, disclosed this in Funtua, Katsina State, shortly after a consignment of 800 tonnes of soya beans left Funtua, in the first stage of the intiative, for Apapa port to formally launch the scheme.
“This will no doubt result in wealth creation for small holder farmers of those produce, job creation, inclusive economic growth, diversification of national revenue and GDP amongst other benefits in line with the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) of the Buhari administration,” he said.
Abdulhameed, who commended the Nigerian Railway Corporation’s commitment and dedication to the success of the scheme, said it is designed to enhance the income of small holder farmers, boost exports and preserve scarce foreign exchange.
The focus of NIRSAL, he further said, is on enabling a structured, sustainable and business oriented approach to agriculture that can stand the country in good stead in the emerging post oil Nigerian economy.
On his part, the Chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engineer Usman Abubakar, expressed delight at the take-off of the scheme and commended the NIRSAL management for accepting to play the very important role of facilitating bank financing of logistical elements which are critical for the smooth operations of the scheme.
His words: “This project is especially good for the country in this time of recession because it will link farmers in the north to markets in the south and exporters, help reduce high food prices while at the same time helping farmers get good value for their produce. It is a project that works for the people and complements the efforts of government to diversify the economy. We are indeed happy to be a part of it.”
Abubakar also disclosed that the take off of the scheme came on the heels of the successful launch of the movement of cattle by rail that has so far conveyed over 2000 cattle from Gusau, Zamfara State and Nguru, Yobe State, to Oko-Oba Abattoir, Lagos, since the historic movement of 500 cattle by rail from Gusau to Lagos started last year.