By Elizabeth Adegbesan
THE Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has faulted claims that the bank’s targeted interventions in the agricultural sector are tilted in favour of a certain section of the country.
Emefiele made the clarification, Tuesday, at the unveiling of the 2020 wet season harvest aggregation and flag-off of the 2021 wet season input distribution in the South-West geo-political zone under the CBN- Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state.
He explained that contrary to views held by some individuals and interest groups, the CBN interventions in the ABP were not only about rice production but had expanded to over 21 crops and were evenly spread across the country.
Emefiele said that over N300 billion had been disbursed to companies operating in the southern part of Nigeria, citing companies and farmers across Lagos, Edo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River as major beneficiaries of the bank’s interventions.
Emefiele also charged stakeholders in the various crop value chains in the country to continually make consistent and positive strides towards attaining food security, noting that attaining self-sufficiency in food production will not come cheap.
Acknowledging the current challenges in attaining food security in Nigeria, he said synergy among stakeholders will surely catalyze the growth process, assuring that the CBN is ready to offer effective partnership to deliver on this critical national mandate of attaining self-sufficiency in food production.
He enjoined Nigerian youths to embrace agriculture, saying, “They have the talent, energy, enthusiasm, technological adoption capacity and all the right drive to revolutionize agricultural production in Nigeria.
“We must meet them half-way to ensure that we provide the enabling environment to make agriculture attractive to them. CBN stands ready to support youths that are willing to engage in agriculture.”
The CBN Governor stated that a total of 3,107,890 farmers have been financed for the cultivation of 3,801,397 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT, from the inception of the programme till date.
He added that under the 2020 wet season CBN-RIFAN partnership, the Bank had also financed 221,450 farmers for the cultivation of 221,450 hectares in 32 States.