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Emefiele commends Nigerians interest in agriculture, says Agricultural sector is Nigeria’s saving grace

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has expressed satisfaction with the high level of interest in the Nigerian agricultural sector and the impact across value chains in the past six years.

The CBN governor made the remarks at the weekend during the inspection of a palm plantation at Odighi, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State, over the weekend.

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While addressing journalists, Emefiele commended President Buhari’s foresight in revamping the agricultural sector with the CBN playing a major role.

He said with the rising cost of food across the globe, Nigeria would have been in dire circumstances if the proactive measures had not been taken.

He expressed delight that the Bank had assumed a pivotal role since 2015 upon the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians produce what they eat and eat what they produce.

He said following that pronouncement, the bank had come up with several initiatives aimed at repositioning the sector with a view to creating employment opportunities as well as growing the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.

On his assessment of the farm in Odighi, Emefiele, expressed optimism that palm produce harvests would commence in the next 12 months.

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The CBN Governor who was visibly elated by the strides being recorded in the production of maize and cassava at the farm acknowledged the significant role played by the Edo State Government.

He thanked Governor Godwin Obaseki immensely for matching words with action by making available arable land to those who are genuinely interested in agriculture and appealed to other State Governors to emulate Edo state which had so far, made available about 70 per cent of the promised arable land.

On the socio-economic impact of CBN interventions, Emefiele hailed the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), which he noted revolutionized agricultural practice by providing credit facilities, in the form of inputs like seedlings, fertilizer and herbicides, to smallholder farmers who cannot approach commercial banks for loans.

“Those smallholder farmers can now cultivate and produce enough for their families and sell produce as loan repayment with ease, thereby generating employment, improving living standards and creating wealth simultaneously,” he stressed.

Emefiele also commended Obaseki for promoting the Agri-Allied Resources and Processing Limited and the company for heeding the clarion call made by the CBN to source critical raw materials locally.

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He noted that the company had painstakingly embraced the backward integration principle by acquiring farmland to the tune of 18,000 hectares for cultivation of oil palm, cassava and maize which are the critical raw materials used by the group.

In his remarks during the visit, the Managing Director of Agri-Allaied resources, Mr. Madhukar Khetan hinted that the company had so far accessed a ten-year loan for the project in the sum of N15 Billion, at single digit interest rate with a two-year moratorium, under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS). The farm currently has about one thousand persons in its employ.

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