Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele has called for sustained investments in the agricultural value chain championed by the bank to galvanize production to meet the requirements of Nigeria's growing population.
He gave the charge in Zauro, Kebbi State, on Tuesday during the flag-off of the 2020 wet season harvest aggregation and 2020 dry season input distribution under the CBN-Rice Farmers' Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Anchor Borrowers' Programme (ABP). It was also part of events marking the 5th anniversary of ABP.
"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," he said.
"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 pyramids in Minna, Niger State, to highlight its intervention in the maize value chain, also featured the display of pyramids of rice harvests by farmers in the state.
According to Emefiele, the ABP in the past five years was characterized with huge successes, learning points and challenges.
Specifically, he noted that 2.924 million farmers cultivating 3.648m hectares across 21 commodities through 23 participating financial institutions had been financed across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory since 2016.
He also said under the 2020 wet season CBN-RIFAN partnership, CBN financed 221,450 farmers for the cultivation of 221,450 hectares in 32 states.
Following the president's approval of the resuscitation of the Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) and the commitment of N50 billion by CBN and other stakeholders, Emefiele said a vibrant commodity exchange would enhance post-harvest handling and guarantee effective pricing for farmers, among others.