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Food Security: CBN says ABP, other interventions revolutionising agricultural sector

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN

*The Central Bank of Nigeria explains how the Small Holder Farmers have cultivated and produced adequate food products for their families and other consumers, while improving living standards and creating wealth in the economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed satisfaction with the level of interest expressed in agriculture and tremendous impacts the important sector has recorded in the West African country in the last six years.

ConsumerConnect reports Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, stated this while addressing reporters during an inspection tour of the palm plantation at Odighi village, in Ovia North-East Local Government Area of Edo State, at the weekend.

Emefiele wondered in view of the rising costs of food items across the globe, what would have happened to Nigeria without the foresight to revamp agricultural sector of the country’s economy.

The CBN Governor, however, expressed delight that the Bankers’ Bank has assumed a pivotal role since 2015 upon the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari in the last six years.

According to Emefiele, President Buhari had directed that “we produce what we eat and eat what we produce” by coming up with several initiatives aimed repositioning the sector with a view to creating employment opportunities as well as growing the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.

In regard to his assessment of the developments in the farm, the CBN Governor, who was elated with the strides already recorded of maize and cassava production, expressed optimism that in the next one year, palm produce harvests will have commenced.

While acknowledging the significant role played by the Edo State Government, Emefiele commended Governor Godwin Obaseki immensely for matching words with action by making sure that arable land was made available to those who are genuinely interested in agriculture.

The CBN Chief, therefore, appealed to other state governors to emulate Edo State, which has so far made available about 70 percent of the promised arable land.

Impact of CBN interventions

As regards the socio-economic impact of the CBN interventions, Emefiele singled out the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), among other interventions schemes which revolutionised agricultural practice in the country.

Small Holder Farmers (SHFs), he  stated, who hitherto could not approach commercial banks for loans are now being granted credit facilities in the form of inputs, such as seedlings, fertilizer and herbicides.

According to Emefiele, the farmers can now cultivate and produce enough for their families and sell produce as loan repayment with ease, thereby generating employment, improve living standards and create wealth simultaneously.

The Governor of CBN also applauded the efforts of the promoting company, Agri-Allied Resources and Processing Limited and Tolaram Limited, its parent company, for heeding to clarion made by the CBN to source their critical raw materials locally.

The company has painstakingly embraced backward integration principle by acquiring farmland to the tune of 18,000 hectares for cultivation of oil palm, cassava and maize which were the critical raw materials use by the group.

Mr. Madhukar Khetan, Managing Director of Agri-Allied resources, in his remarks during the visit, noted that the company had accessed a 10-year loan in the sum of N15billion at a single digit interest rate with two-year moratorium, under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) for the project.

The farm currently has about one thousand workforce, the company said.

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