The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc), in collaboration with its partners, Successory Nigeria Limited and MTN Nigeria, has launched the NIRSAL Farmers’ Business School (NFBS), a mobile learning platform that is based on Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology.
The initiative is to offer farmers leverage to increase their productivity through advisory services to be offered by experts through the communication as well as provision of information concerning markets and stocks.
Under the initiative, NBFS would provide convenient, bespoke training on good agricultural practices to Nigeria’s smallholder farmers who crave improved access to vital information, which is critical to the success of primary production cycles.
NIRSAL Plc is ready to provide support mechanisms that plug information gaps, boost entrepreneurial capacities, and improve access to commercial finance.
During interactions at the launch of the NFBS, Managing Director/CEO of NIRSAL Plc, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, allayed concerns that the platform might be too sophisticated and expensive for some rural farmers to use.
In terms of cost, he said that at N100 per week, a subscriber could access all the courses and assessments due to them, and at their own pace. A N50 fee would apply for access to additional market opportunities, weather forecasts/updates, and special deals, while with N20 only, subscribers could procure step-by-step guidance on specific farm activities such as pest control and fertiliser application.
Abdulhameed emphasised the importance of the platform to NIRSAL Plc, its owners the CBN, the Federal Government, Banks, and other investors in agricultural primary production as it will promote the inclusion of farmers in the use of ICT and limit physical classroom engagements in line with the new normal.
Chief Sales Distribution Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Adekunle Adebiyi, enthused that MTN is a natural collaborator in initiatives that meaningfully connect, inform and educate Nigerians. He said its network connectivity in Nigeria would serve as the conduit for a seamless, continuous and cost-effective interaction between NIRSAL and farmers.