*NAIC: Whither our agricultural sector’s future?
By Sandra Onyekwere
Since the coming of the new Czarina of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Mrs Folashade Joseph, there has been some public visibility and proactive activities which has forced us to do a review and analysis of her activities so far. For now, she is doing great and deserve an applause.
In a concerted effort to increase agricultural productivity and achieve self-sufficiency in food production by 2020, the nation was made to welcome the King of Morocco in Abuja recently to learn from their experience in agriculture.
During this visit, several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed to strengthen the relationship of the two countries in agriculture and other sectors of the economy.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Mrs Folashade Joseph and the Interim Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Mr Kabir Mohammed, had to visit Morocco to further tighten the MoU on insurance and agricultural lending.
According to the MD of NAIC, Mrs Joseph told the media: “NAIC paid a working visit to Mamda in Rabat, Morocco to further activate terms of the MoU and understudy the Moroccan experience in the area of parametric (area yield index) insurance products.
“NAIC on her part will continue to meet up with her contractual obligations in the area of the payment of claims as at when due to the farmers insured through the Bank of Agriculture platform.”
Furthermore, she said that new insurance products will be put in place in NAIC in order to help manage the risk associated with agricultural value chains in the area of insurance.
“We will also develop new insurance products and services for the satisfaction of our farmers across the nation in order to manage the risk associated with the entire agricultural value chain especially in the area of the development of parametric (index) insurance products.
“We have enjoyed an enduring relationship with Bank of Agriculture being our major customer and partner. We wish to assure Bank of Agriculture of our continuous support in the fulfilment of its mandate by the provision of the appropriate risk management services to agricultural investors and farmers being financed by Bank of Agriculture,” she added.
On his part, the MD/CEO of Bank of Agriculture said recapitalisation of the bank was needed for it to meet up with its mandate. He also noted that the first thing that was done in the bank recently after being inaugurated was to increase the internal capacity.
“We have done a lot since we assumed office. The first thing we did was to increase the internal capacity of the bank. The bank was faced with so many challenges which included under-capitalisation; the bank is yet to be recapitalised. Funds are still very low. We have engaged stakeholders of the bank with the view to getting recapitalised. We have gone to the extent of meeting the Acting President and we have gotten all the assurances that the bank will be recapitalised and well funded.
“What we are doing in the collaboration with NAIC and MAMDA is a new innovation in protecting and covering risk and losses in the agriculture value chain. Right now, farming is no longer taken as a traditional occupation, it is more or less a business. Fortunately, the Moroccan model has been very successful over the years, all the activities along the value chain are contributing immensely to the foreign exchange earnings of Morocco, so our trip is a follow up of what our President and the King of Morocco have signed at the beginning of this administration, so that we can steady what they are doing, we can partner with them, we get support in terms of capacity building from them and so on.”
Climate change and agriculture: With the growing challenges posed to agriculture by climate change, Mrs Folashade Joseph said there was need for Nigerian farmers to accept climate smart agriculture and embrace agricultural risk management.
The NAIC managing director added that NAIC would continue to develop partnership agreements and collaborate with international partners to develop and deploy insurance products that will help in managing emerging risks.
The Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture, Alhaji Kabiru Mohammed, said although the bank and NAIC had enjoyed a good relationship over a long time, there were new developments that made it important for them to strengthen the partnership to facilitate the realisation of the objectives of the Federal Government in repositioning agriculture.
Mohammed added that emerging realities in the country had made it imperative to change the mindset of farmers from the thinking that farming was no more than a traditional occupation.