Aregbesola faults CBN’s delay of farmers’ incentive
Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has decried alleged delay by the Central Bank in operating Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) for the state’s farmers.
The governor spoke at the weekend at the third anniversary of the Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP)and turning of the sod for the state Soil and Food Laboratory Complex.
He said: “We have embraced the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), which unfortunately is being unduly delayed. This unproductive delay has its root in the non-operation of NIRSAL. For our counterpart fund of N300 million in the N600 million QIIP 2, we made available our N9 million NIRSAL Premium for its first year of operation.
“Unfortunately, NIRSAL, which was supposed to be in operation, was not and could not avail the premium and the money had to be returned to our treasury without the supporting benefits we intended to get for our farmers and for which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) earlier assured us.”
Aregbesola called on the CBN to “speedily” ensure that NIRSAL begins operation before the end of the year.
He said an effectively functional programme as NIRSAL would boost and speed up agric-financing by the financial institutions.
The programme, he said, would encourage financial institutions to support a large number of small and large-scale farm-holders and “promote revolvability of loans and build up the necessary wide pool of agric-financing expertise in our economy for consistent and sustainable growth and development of agriculture.”
The governor added that in addition to the loan scheme, QIIP had worked to implement other projects.
“One of them is the Osun Modern Beekeeping, Queen Honey Bee Rearing Project (O-Honey.) We have established a modern apiary with queen bee rearing capacity and extractor – the first in sub-Saharan Africa. It is expected that this will boost production and plant pollination in the state, specifically at Odo-Otin Local Government Area.
“The focus of the project includes training of unemployed youths in modern beekeeping and queen honey bee rearing, production of honey and wax, distribution of starter package to beginner beekeepers, increasing bee pollination for increase in crop yield and export of honey. Compensation has recently been paid to the land donors at Oyan, and work is ongoing to complete the construction of the factory and the installation of the honey processing equipment.
“Let me also add that programmes like O’REAP (Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme), O’REAP Youth Academy, the Osun Broilers Out-Growers’ Production (O’BOPS), the Osun Fisheries Out-Growers’ Production (O’FOPS); the Osun Beef Value Chain project (O’BEEF), and the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O’MEALS) have effectively seen to the empowerment of many of our people,” he said.
Aregbesola added that through the Osun Agricultural Development Corporation (OSADEC), the government distributed 10 sets of garri processing machines, 10 sets of cassava chips machines and three sets of yam flour processing machines at subsidised prices to interested cooperative groups and other members of the public.
He noted that farmers have also benefitted from highly subsidised fertiliser, solid herbicides, liquid insecticides, solid insecticides, fungicides and other agro chemicals.
On the Soil and Food Laboratory, the governor said the programme would move the state forward in its quest to “become a formidable emporium of food production, food security, and economic growth.
“This momentous initiative is a product of the collaboration between our state and the State of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany. Our German partners designed the complex whose foundation we are laying today.
“When completed, this laboratory will be a key resource for increasing the quantity and quality of food production in the state, as well as provide jobs for some of our unemployed scientists and technologists.”