By Emma Ujah
Faced with scarce foreign exchange due to the drop in crude oil earnings, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to heavily invest in the cassava value-chain in order to cut the current $580 million annual import of cassava by-products.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this, yesterday, at the inauguration of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Plant at Afam/Ban-Ogoi Link Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.
His words, “Notwithstanding our position as the largest producer of cassava in the world, Nigeria imports over $580m worth of cassava by-products.
“With facilities such as this, it will help in reducing our reliance on imports of cassava by-products, which serve as key inputs in the production of food items in several factories”
According to him, the sum of N7.436 billion has been accessed by four states in the South-South region to open up more land for cultivation, create access roads to agricultural lands, and provide infrastructure among other support services.
He also stated: “Our interventions have cut across key sectors such as agricultural, manufacturing, health, and infrastructure. So far, the sum of N333.196 billion has been disbursed to various projects in the South-South region covering activities in these different economic sectors.”
In his address, Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesom Wike, challenged Rivers state indigenes to utilise bank loans in productive economic activities.