By Mustapha Sumaila
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said more than one million smallholders farmers had access to finance through its Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Emefiele said this while reeling out the policy road map for his second tenure of five years in Abuja on Monday.
He explained that the bank made serious efforts to improve cultivation of agricultural commodities such as rice, tomatoes, fish, cotton and palm oil.
The CBN governor said the programme also enabled agro-processors and manufacturers to source their inputs from local sources, rather than relying on the importation of these items.
“We also deployed other intervention facilities such as the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, and the Real Sector Support Fund.
“These funds were used to channel single digit interest loans through our Deposit Money Banks and other Participating Financial Institutions to beneficiaries to support improved growth in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
“The effectiveness of these interventions in supporting the growth of our local industries has been supported by our FOREX restrictions on the importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria.’’
Emefiele, therefore, promised to build on the success of the Anchor Borrowers and other intervention programmes geared toward supporting the growth of agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
He said the bank under his leadership would abide by the recent Presidential Directives to boost productivity through the provision of improved seedlings, as well as access to finance for rural farmers.
“We shall work across 10 different commodities namely: Rice, Maize, Cassava, Cocoa, Tomato, Cotton, Oil-palm, Poultry, Fish, and Livestock/Dairy.
“Our choice of these 10 crops is driven by the amount spent on the importation of these items into the country.
“And over 10 million jobs could be created over the next five years if efforts are made to expand cultivation and processing of these items in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Emefiele disclosed that so far, the bank had held series of engagements with importers and producers of these products and most of them had committed that they would install or expand their production capacities in the country.
“We believe these measures will help to boost not only our domestic outputs but also improve our annual non-oil exports receipts from two billion dollars in 2018 to 12 billion dollars by 2023.’’