By Abubakar Yunusa, Abuja
The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Credit Agricole Du Maroc (CAM), a Moroccan bank, to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development of the agriculture sectors of both countries.
Aliyu Abdulhameed, managing director of NIRSAL Plc, and Tariq Sijilmassi, chairman of the management board of CAM, signed the agreement on behalf of their institutions.
A statement issued by NIRSAL said the MoU rekindles their six-year partnership, through the facilitation of finance and investment, trade and support systems across agricultural value chains with emphasis on smallholder farmers.
It said the agreement followed a state visit to Nigeria in 2016 by Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco.
At the time, there was a pact between NIRSAL and CAM which formed part of 15 bilateral agreements signed by the king and President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of their countries.
Six years later, NIRSAL and CAM met again, this time at the head office of the latter in Rabat, to review activities under the agreement and rekindle the partnership.
The latest meeting further expanded the scope of their pact to include B2B relationships, capacity building, knowledge transfer, and digital agribusiness risk management solutions.
Among the short and medium-term undertakings outlined by the MoU, both parties agreed to work towards presenting a common front to the managers of the land degradation neutrality (LDN) fund in a bid to attract global finance for sustainable agribusiness investments.
Speaking at the MOU signing event, Abdulhameed highlighted NIRSAL’s areas of need to include the development of financing products that suit the seasonality of agriculture and other farming contexts.
He also mentioned the difficulties experienced by smallholders in keeping to the terms of conventional bank financing products.
“CAM’s deep experience in developing solutions for the financial integration of smallholder farmers in Africa would also benefit NIRSAL Plc in opening up more pathways for critical finance to enter the agricultural primary production sub-sector in Nigeria,” the statement reads.
On his part, Sijilmassi pledged commitment to the mutual prospect and implementation of agriculture-oriented projects that are beneficial to both organisations and their host countries.