By WILLIAM JIMOH
The 36 state governors including the FCT administration have been urged to take advantage of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s new agricultural financing initiative to boost food security in their states.
The scheme is called Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing Scheme for Agricultural Loans’ NISRAL.
The immediate past national President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Dr. Simon Chukwuemeka Okolo, who made the call, lamented that over 50 years after independence, Nigeria could not attain food security and urged the governors to address the anomaly through the CBN NISRAL.
“The agricultural value chain covers a complete range of activities involved in the agricultural process, from the farms to the consumer tables.
“It encompasses the inputs (seeds, equipment, irrigation, fertilizers) producers, funders, provider of storage, technical and management support, distribution, processors to the wholesaler/retailers and exporters who will get the products to the consumers. They must all come together under one umbrella to have a full understanding of the chain.’’
“A strong agricultural value chain will ensure that fertilizers and high quality seeds are readily available and farmers have access to technical and management support, a ready market for their product, where the processors must have secured the supply of appropriate inputs and a ready market for output, and the consumer gets access to good quality and appropriately priced goods” he said.
He noted countries in Africa, Asia and South America that have used agricultural value chain concept to transform their agricultural sector into very huge success stories, pointing out that such a feat is not beyond Nigeria if government can integrate the small holder farmers into the value chain concept through co-operatives this will fast track the agric transformation process.
He recalled the groundnut pyramids of Northern Nigeria, the cocoa in the west and palm produce in Eastern Nigeria that have sustained the country until the advent of crude oil.
He, however, added that, Nigeria can recapture her once nostalgically high position and be able to feed her people if the government and the private sector can collaborate to nurture a system that will urgently produce great commercial farmers like we have in the developed economies.