The Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) says it has distributed over N2.9 billion across 13,900 hectares of rice farms comprising 40 projects in Nigeria.
Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, NIRSAL Managing Director said this at the 6th Rice-Africa International conference with the theme “Sustaining Rice Revolution in Africa: New Approaches to Value Chain Development,” in Abuja.
NIRSAL Plc was established with the purpose of mitigating perceived agricultural risks and facilitating agribusiness in the country.
“By 2010, the rice import bill was close to 2.2 billion dollars, as elsewhere in West Africa, occasioned by the 2008 global food price hikes that left many countries vulnerable”, Abdulhameed said
Nigeria’s rice revolution has been one of the most outstanding achievements in agriculture in the current administration’s bid for economic diversification”, he added.
The managing director noted that the global rice outlook for 2030 indicated that the demand for rice would be on the increase, ranging between 503 million and 544 million tonnes.
Abdulhameed described rice as a strategic commodity, being a staple food in Nigeria and an important source of livelihood for around 1.4 million rice-farming households and for millions of the rural poor who work on rice farms.
The commodity, he said, had also been listed as one of the economic transformation goals of the country.He also said that the Nigerian economy is undergoing transformation, underscoring the need for the rice value chain to transform itself.