The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has backed the federal government's closure of all land borders saying the closure has cleared local rice and poultry products glut across the country.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele stated this yesterday when he met with members of the Nigerian Governors Forum. The core discussions at the meeting centred around showcasing the various agricultural interventions by the CBN and how state governors can key in and support the programme to maximize the employments and wealth benefits.
Emefiele said the land border closure supports it's initiative to create local jobs and deepen backward integration.
The CBN governor specifically called on the state governments to support the bank's programmes through land donations and infrastructure support.
According to him, in the past three months, the CBN has made substantial progress but it need to interact more with state governors to sustain the momentum.
"The ultimate objective is to make our States economically viable through enhanced investments by the private sector which would in turn create more economic opportunities at the sub national level, engage our teeming youths in meaningful enterprises and improve internal revenue base for states to meet the developmental expectation of its citizens," Mr. Emefiele said.
He reiterated that the apex bank has "identified 10 key commodities including Rice, Cotton, Oil Palm, Tomato, Cassava, Poultry, Fish, Maize, Cocoa and Livestock/Dairy as key enterprises to be developed along the value chain to achieve the above stated goals.
On rice he said the CBN has "so far supported 849,480 farmers with N146bn across the country in the wet and dry seasons. Working with other stakeholders we are waging a war against smuggling of rice into the country".
On diary he said that 85 per cent of Nigeria's cattle, estimated at over 20 million, are owned and managed by small holder, subsistent and nomadic herdsmen who require to be integrated in the scheme of things and be supported by the Bank under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
He said private firms, most of them multinationals, have expressed interest in investing in ranching and diary value chain in a number of states.
"As at today, four companies have expressed interest to invest in Bobi Grazing Reserve in Niger State, Friesland Campina WAMCO and Neon Agro agreed to take 10,000 hectares of land each, while Chi Limited and Irish Dairy are to develop 4,000 hectares each. The State Government retained the remaining 3,000 hectares for its development programmes" he said.