The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), says it will establish a 300 million dollar agribusiness loan project for young farmers across the country.
NIRSAL is an arm of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) that provides agribusiness investments credit risk guarantees to help drive economic development through agriculture. The organisation also helps to reduce credit risk in agricultural lending.
Mr Babajide Arowosafe, the Executive Director of NISRAL, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Wednesday that the project would be funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Arowosafe said that the project known as 'Youth Enable', would commence within the next few weeks to create a successive farmers generation to replace the ageing ones.
He said that the project would be implemented in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Arowosafe explained that the project would boost economic diversification and create business opportunities and employable skills for young men and women across priority agriculture value chains.
He listed some of the value chains to include aquaculture, crops farming, marketing, processing among others.
According to him, it will drive youths into looking for values, opportunities within the agricultural value chain and develop business models that will be sustainable over the years.
"NIRSAL is going to come up in full force on the initiative but what we look forward to is to have youths within some certain age bracket of 18 and 35 years.
"We need youths that are secondary and university graduates that are willing to go into green business, fresh food business, agri-commodities where Nigeria has comparative advantage.
"We can use those productions as fillers for the import substitution agenda of the Federal Government.
"This is purely a commercial venture; you must have a business model that can convince a financial institution.
"NIRSAL is bringing on board its risk sharing facility, its technical assistance, cutting edge technology to make sure that we monitor activities of those youths using technology," he said.
The executive director disclosed that the organisation would support the farmers with its risk sharing facilities like guarantee, interest draw back and facilitate insurance for their businesses.
He assured youth farmers of low interest rates that would facilitate good business development.