Nigeria has capacity to achieve food self-sufficiency soon ~CBN
By Oludare Mayowa
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele has expressed optimism that Nigeria has the capacity to achieve food self-sufficiency within the shortest time possible.
According to Emefiele, the CBN and Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) both target cultivation of 1million hectares of rice farms; which is over 350 percent increase from the 221,450 cultivated in 2020.
The CBN governor who spoke at the launch of the 2020 wet season harvest aggregation and 2020 dry season input distribution under the CBN-RIFAN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme said the Bank and RIFAN equally nursed an ambitious two cycles of production in the dry season, which will trigger a continuous drop in price of rice in the country.
Emefiele said the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Bank, emphasised the need for all stakeholders to sustain current efforts championed by the Bank to galvanize agricultural production towards meeting the requirements of Nigeria’s growing population.
He noted that Nigeria was naturally blessed to meet her food requirement and had no reason to continually repeat mistakes of the past of neglecting agriculture.
“The rhetoric around neglect of previous years will remain part of our history and the best time to correct those mistakes is now and every stakeholder must contribute their quota to guarantee the realization of these national targets.
“Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns globally have shown that nations only export out of their reserves. Let us start building our own reserves now,” he added.
The flag-off, which comes barely three months after the CBN showcased sky-high pyramids in Minna, Niger State, to highlight its intervention in the maize value chain, also featured the display of pyramids, which were rice harvests brought in by farmers in the state.
He noted that the ABP, which is an essential part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive for economic diversification, had improved the fortunes of rural farmers, transforming agriculture into a potential for economic growth.
The ABP in the past five years had been characterized with huge successes, learning points and challenges. Specifically, he noted that a total of 2,923,937 farmers cultivating 3,647,643 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 participating Financial Institutions had been financed in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory from inception till date.
He also disclosed that the Bank, under the 2020 wet season CBN-RIFAN partnership, financed 221,450 farmers for the cultivation of 221,450 hectares in 32 States.
“The North-West zone with 85,261 farmers that cultivated 120,218 hectares represented 38.5 percent in total number of farmers and 54.3 percent in total number of hectares financed,” he disclosed.
He said the massive pyramids being launched in Kebbi were harvests from various fields across Kebbi State and a confirmation of the positive outlook of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.