NIRSAL, CIAT sign pact to address climate risks in Agric sector

The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) on Wednesday signed an agreement to adequaltely dimension and address all climate risks that can jeopardize the future of the the country’s agriculture sector.

The Project is aimed at providing an overview of climate risk issues and other vulnerabilities across agro-ecological zones in the country as well as indications of how climate change will potentially impact agricultural production, water resources, energy and human health.

At the agrrement signing in Abuja, NIRSAL’s Managing Director/CEO Aliyu Abdulhameed said the project was coming at a very strategic time and is in sync with the corporation’s mandate of de-risking agriculture and facilitating agri-business.

NIRSAL, a US$500million Non-Bank Financial Institution and wholly owned corporation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has facilitated some US$375million funding from commercial banks for Nigeria’s agribusinesses across the value chain from inception to date.

According to him, NIRSAL’s partnership with CIAT is in line with its commitment to contribute to the realization of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets as ratified at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and consented to by President Buhari, and in its push for the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices in Nigeria.

He explained that the profiles derived from NIRSAL’s work with CIAT would be used to improve the operations of smallholder farmers through NIRSAL’s existing engagement structures that stretch from Commodity Endemic Areas within Agro-ecological zones, down through Agro Geo-clusters, Agro Geo-cooperatives, to individual smallholders in Agro Geo-cooperative Cells of 50 hectares each.

NIRSAL/CIAT partnership for the development of climate risk profiles for Nigeria is expected to: strengthen existing decision support systems in agriculture and build capacity of stakeholders for identifying and managing climate risks in agribusiness.

The partnership is further expected to facilitate the development of robust response plans and programs for a climate-resilient Agricultural Sector.

NIRSAL has also trained over 700,000 farmers on good agronomic practices and financial education, and provided high quality agricultural inputs and affordable finance to more than 500,000 smallholder farmers under 3 farming seasons from 2017 to 2018.

“While we are impressed with the progress we have made, we are determined to consolidate and build rapidly on our efforts towards the development of the Nigerian agricultural sector,” Abdulhameed stated. He expressed confidence that beyond the agricultural sector, the development of climate risk profiles for Nigeria would provide a structured and systematic approach for prioritising the nation’s efforts at achieving climate-compatible development.

“These will, inadvertently, guide climate-smart agricultural investments and enable the flow of additional finance into climate-smart agricultural approaches from development finance sources
such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Adaptation Fund, Green Climate Fund, etc.”

In his remarks, the African Director of CIAT, Debisi Araba explained that CIAT’s involvement in the generation of sub-national climate risk profile reports for Kenya which are instrumental in triggering a $250million World Bank fund earmarked for climate change mitigation through agriculture.

Araba said capabilities of CIAT include the ability to anticipate climatic variations, leading to smart agricultural risk management.

“CIAT can look forward to achieving great success with Nigeria, given that the country has different Agro-ecological zones with narrowing spectra of possible climate risks,” he stressed.

Araba pointed out that, behind the framework of NIRSAL’s engagement with smallholder farmers in the fields, the partnership would serve as an engine room generating Climate Risk Profiles and churning out internationally validated risk metrics that would inform interest rates, insurance premiums and, consequently, commodity prices and
investment decisions.

Also present at the agreement signing event was the Minister of Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, represented by the Director of the Department of Climate Change, Peter Tarfa.

The Minister, while expressing the Ministry’s support for the project partnership between NIRSAL and CIAT, noted that the ministry’s support is inspired by the fact that close to 30 percent of the NDC Goals for Nigeria are achievable via sectoral focus on agriculture alone.

Source: Business Day