By Chineme Okafor
Over 200,000 small holding farmers in 29 states of the country, cultivating eight different commodities have gotten N43 billion so far disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) which was launched in November 2015, Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed.
According to Emefiele, the ABP has so far achieved tremendous success in terms of outreach and coverage, making it one of the most successful of CBN’s development finance initiatives to date.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during the launch of the Presidential Initiative On Agriculture and Youth Empowerment Programme at the CBN headquarters, Emefiele said though the government was targeting an expanded job generation from the scheme, rising from its initial target of 10,000 fresh jobs to 130,000 new jobs in each of the states.
“The 10,000 target per state is the very least. That is if the state is lazy. Already, Jigawa has generated 56,000 jobs along the agriculture value chain from this programme. So, we have looked at it and we know 130,000 new jobs can be generated in each of the 29 states that have keyed into the scheme. It is new jobs and new initiatives. After attaining food sufficiency, the next stage is export to increase our foreign reserves.
“Currently, the success of the programme has culminated in wealth creation for the small holder farmers, who hitherto had been crowded out of the formal financial system, deepening of markets and value addition along the value chain of the various commodities.”
The CBN boss further revealed that the National Food Security Programme (NFSP) was initiated in November 2016 as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to complement the ABP by supporting large farms involved in commercial capital intensive operations, to produce on a massive scale, engage in value addition and shore up strategic grains reserve.
On this he explained: “In June 2017, over 30,000 metric tonnes of grains was purchased by the federal government from companies participating under this program and distributed to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Given this track record, I believe we are on the verge of something very significant with the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).”
“This scheme has been designed to create an ecosystem with the active participation of both the public sector, state governments in this regard and the involvement of the private sector.”
Similarly, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, reiterated earlier in his remarks that Nigeria has to produce what she consumes and only import what cannot be produced locally.
“We should not be a dumping ground for all goods. By doing that for many years, we enriched other nations and imported poverty and our youths have nowhere to go.
“If Mr President did not launch the ABP on November 15, 2015, the rice and wheat production we have today would not have come. In rice, we have moved from five million metric tons to 17 million metric tons. We’re getting all forms of mills. We now produce good quality rice.
“Our population is estimated to hit 450 million by 2050 and that will be the third largest population in the world. If we eat N3,000 worth of food per person daily, multiply that by 450 million. It will give you trillions in exchange of food daily. That’s a lot.
“We’re spreading artificial insemination to increase milk production. We’ve gotten back our universities of agriculture on track. So are our colleges of agriculture. We have a lot to do in agriculture. We are reforming the Bank of Agriculture.
“There’s now a strong synergy between federal and state governments. The CBN has the cash, states have the land. That is good synergy. Cosharis has rice plantation and also going into cattle production. Imagine Kebbi State that was called the poorest state five years ago, today many millionaire rice farmers are there. It is all good for us.”