Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
Following the success of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Nigerian farmers, yesterday, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to institutionalize it in order to be sustained after the current administration.
The National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Arc. Kabir Ibrahim told journalists in Abuja that the ABP has changed the agricultural space in the country and should be sustained.
He spoke during a briefing by the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), headed by its new President, Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere.
Arc. Ibrahim noted with admiration, the impact of the ABP on the Nigerian economy in general and particularly, the living standard of Nigerian farmers, who are now earning good income from their farms.
The NABG is an organized private sector platform working together to grow Nigeria’s agricultural economy, creating jobs and lifting millions out of poverty.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr. Ijewere said that the group would pursue what he described as “Smart agriculture” with the use of latest technology and improved seeds to massively increase yield across the various commodities.
The NABG President said that the nation has been blessed with vast arable land and good climate suitable for the production of various commodities and that his team would drive agricultural productivity beyond what has ever been achieved in the country.
He said that the various players in the agricultural sector and the manufacturing industries required synergy, in order to maximize the opportunities that exist in the country.
He said, “Various commodity producers have been working in silos. What we want to do is to ensure synergy all players.
“Together, we are helping to ensure food security and nutrition, creating systemic linkages between small, medium and large agribusiness enterprises. Working together as stakeholders in agriculture to diversify the economy of Nigeria away from oil and gas towards agricultural industrialization.
“Merge the agricultural groups working in silos to ensure that agriculture and its attendant value chains merge into a unified strong voice”.
“We recognize our role as the engine of economic growth with the government creating the enabling environment for agribusinesses to thrive”.
The NABG he said “represent the faces of agribusiness in Nigeria, speaking with a unified voice to identify and provide solution options to resolve issues and challenges and to identify new opportunities for sustainable growth”.
The President disclosed that the group was in talks with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with a view tio supporting its activities.
According to him, the Group’s investments cut across the entire agricultural value-chain from input to output markets, export markets, equipment and consumer foods manufacturing.