It was a dawn of new era for agricultural financing in the country as the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc and the Moroccan Bank of Agriculture, Credit Agricole Du Maroc (CAM), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on sustainable development in agriculture. The MoU seeks to promote inclusive growth of the agriculture sector in both countries through the facilitation of finance and investment, trade and support systems across agricultural value chain with emphasis on smallholder farmers. In 2016, the King of Morocco, His Majesty, Mohammed VI, had visited Nigeria to sign a initial pact, between NIRSAL and CAM, forming part of 15 bilateral agreements signed by the King and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, on behalf of both countries. The meeting expanded the scope of their pact to include B2B relationships, capacity building, knowledge transfer and digital agribusiness risk management solutions.
CAM’s wide experience in developing solutions for the financial integration of smallholder farmers in Africa would be of immense benefit to NIRSAL and Nigeria. The Managing Director/CEO of NIRSAL Plc, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, and Chairman of CAM, Mr. Tariq Sijilmassi both signed the MoU, where Abdulhameed elaborated on NIRSAL Plc’s areas of need to include the development of financing products that suit the seasonality of agriculture, emphasising the difficulties smallholders experience in keeping to the terms of conventional bank financing products. He expressed confidence that innovative financing products that speak to the peculiarities of agricultural primary production would help agriculture financiers maximise the benefits and incentives in the 75 per cent Credit Risk Guarantee (CRG) issued by NIRSAL for primary production projects as well as Interest Drawbacks (IDB) of up to 40 per cent for borrowers.