…Commends Emefiele foresight
Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has called on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to expand and institutionalize the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) with a view to sustaining it even after the current administration.
The National President of AFAN, Arc. Kabir Ibrahim, spoke on behalf of Nigerian farmers during a chat with the media, to highlight the activities of the Nigeria Agricultural Business Group (NABG), in Abuja.
According to him, the ABP has brought new breath into Nigeria’s agribusiness as the sector has become attractive to the elite and big investors, contrary to the perception before Mr. Emefiele’s appointment as CBN Governor.
Arc. Ibrahim argued that if institutionalized the programme would run beyond the present administration and that Nigerian farmers would be able to take full advantage of the opportunities created by the initiative.
ABP which included crops such as rice, maize, tomato and cassava has grown to cover cotton and oil palm.
In his contribution, the President of the NABG, Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, said that the organization was working to innovate agribusiness in the country, with a view to making the sector more rewarding to operators in the various segments, in particular and the nation’s economy, in general.
The NABG boss said “together, we are helping to ensure food security and nutrition, creating systemic linkages between small, medium and large agribusiness enterprises and working together as stakeholders in agriculture to diversify the economy of Nigeria away from oil and gas towards agricultural industrialization”.
According to the president, the Group’s investments cut across the entire agricultural-value chain from inputs, equipment and consumer foods manufacturing to export markets.
He noted that Nigeria’s biggest challenge remained the economy and that all other problems of the country could be easily solved once agriculture was given a priority.
According to him, the NABG would strive to engage governments at all levels in setting policy directions and regulatory reforms to enable sustainable inclusive socio-economic growth.
NABG, he added that many agricultural groups have been working in silos and that his organization would ensure a connection between the various groups for maximum impact which would see that, “agriculture and its attendant value chains merge into a unified strong voice”.
The NABG he said “represents 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”
Mr. Emefiele, had said that CBN’s interventions in the agricultural sector saved the Nigerian economy from collapse by significantly boosting productivity in the last six years.
The CBN boss, during a recent inspection visit to the palm plantation at Odighi village in Ovia North- East Local Government Area of Edo state, noted with satisfaction that the level of interest in agriculture had grown significantly, with tremendous impact on the overall economy.
He wondered what would have happened to Nigerians with the rising cost of food items across the globe, if the apex bank had not initiated its people-focused policies and programmes, under his administration.
The CBN Governor expressed delight that the bank has assumed a pivotal role since 2015 upon the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari that “we produce what we eat and eat what we produce” by coming up with several initiatives aimed repositioning the sector with a view to creating employment opportunities as well as growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.