By NBF News
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The Bankers Committee has identified six areas to improve the agricultural sector through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL). Mr. Ladi Balogun, Managing Director, First City Monument Bank, made this known while addressing newsmen after the Bankers Committee meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday.

'We've previously identified six sub-sectors within agriculture that were to receive special attention through this incentive-based NIRSAL. That was the soya beans sector, tomato sector, rice, cotton, cassava and maize.

It has since been seen that it will be important to expand that sector to include another four, so we have a total of 10 sub-sectors in the Agric base that will be receiving special attention. The additional four sectors include Cocoa, Livestock, aquaculture which is farming and fish and palm oil sector.'

Balogun said that focus on the sectors would have ripple effect on the economy as a whole and increase the volume of loans to the agriculture sector. The CBN has earmarked N75 billion for NIRSAL, a new initiative to encourage agricultural lending by banks.

The fund would assist in addressing the challenges and deficiencies in the agricultural value chain as well as enable banks to lend without much anxiety.

It would increase the total value of agricultural lending from 2 per cent to 10 per cent of total bank lending within five years, enhance lending capacity of banks and develop sustainable agricultural lending process.