Despite food shortage and the associated increase in the prices of foodstuff in the country, president Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria will achieve food sufficiency, under his watch.
The president who gave the assurance while commissioning the integrated estate farm in Suduje, Duara, Katsina State, yesterday, said Nigeria has comparative advantage in crop and livestock production.
“I am confident that Nigeria under my watch will achieve food security in producing most of what we eat,” he said, adding “we will even export our surpluses so as to earn foreign exchange.”
Speaking at the event, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele promised to provide credit for Nigerian farmers under its agricultural support programmes to help scale up the production of food across the nation.
Mr Emefiele also said Nigeria’s continued existence is tied to the ability of all government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to cooperate in strategic policy formulation and implementation.
“Our survival as a country is hinged on our resourcefulness and synergy among various government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in areas of policy formulation and implementation, which is a pre-requisite to the attainment of our desired growth trajectory,” he said.
Emefiele noted that Nigeria is likely to make significant strides over the next three years in repositioning its agricultural sector for greater growth, given the combined efforts of the National Agriculture Land Development Authority (NALDA) integrated farm estate and the CBN in making land and credit available to farmers.
“The bank is indeed ready to partner with NALDA and explore the potential of providing affordable and accessible finance to the beneficiaries under the programme to scale up productivity,” he said.
Emefiele maintained that his administration believes in the massive potential of Nigeria’s agricultural sector and the need to stimulate more private sector investment in the agricultural value chain with the support of government.
The programme also links smallholder farmers to agro-processors and manufacturers, who provide quality inputs and trainings in best farming practices to ensure high yield and output.
Since November 2015, the ABP has financed 3,734,938 smallholder farmers cultivating 4,648,880 hectares of 21 commodities across the 36 States of the federation and the FCT.
In pursuance of the drive to diversify the nation’s economy, with emphasis on non-oil exports through agricultural revolution, the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) has become a game changer for financing smallholder farmers, who are leading government’s efforts at improving the cultivation of agricultural commodities such as rice, cassava, maize, tomatoes, fish, cotton, oil palm, cocoa and wheat.
“The programme also links smallholder farmers to agro-processors and manufacturers who provide quality inputs and trainings in best farming practices to ensure high yield and output. Since November 2015, the ABP has financed 3,734,938 smallholder farmers cultivating 4,648,880 hectares of 21 commodities across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT,” he said.
Emefiele said the CBN is also positioned to ensure the integration of Nigerian farmers into the federal government’s economic sustainability plan, which is focused on providing five million homes with electricity using renewable energy. Under the programme, farmers with good repayment records under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) would be eligible to get solar home systems to supply electricity to their homes.
He said the bank will develop a repayment framework that will allow the farmers to use their farm produce to pay for electricity consumed under the scheme. The initiative is expected to improve the standard of living of smallholder farmers across the country and motivate prompt loan repayment as well as enhance the sustainability of the programme.
The promise is to reposition Nigeria to become a self-sufficient food producer, creating millions of jobs and supplying its domestic industries with raw material needs.