By Kayode Tokede, Lagos and Funmilayo Odunola, Abuja
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed that the apex bank has disbursed N146billion to 849,480 rice farmers across the country in the wet and dry seasons.
He also disclosed that the apex bank has financed the construction of rice mills to support food self-sufficiency and security in the country, stating that give mills have been constructed with commercial banks financing three others.
Speaking on the theme, “unlocking Nigeria’s growth and employment potential” in Abuja on Thursday at the meeting with all the state governors, he said, the apex bank’s initiatives to enhance agricultural development are focused on boosting the production of identified agricultural commodities that have high growth enhancement impact, create jobs, improve capacity of industries, conserve foreign exchange has taken new dimensions.
In his words, “With respect to rice, we have so far supported 849,480 farmers with N146billon across the country in the wet and dry seasons. Working with other stakeholders we are waging war against smuggling of rice into the country.
“We have also financed the construction of rice mills to support food self-sufficiency and security. Dangote Farms is constructing five mills, two in Jigawa State and one each in Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto. Other rice mills financed by the Bank include the WACOT and Labana Rice Mills in Kebbi State, and Umza Rice Mill in Kano.“
He explained that the CBN is working based on the federal government’s directives and has identified 10 key enterprises to be developed along the value chain to achieve enhanced agricultural development.
This includes rice, cotton, oil palm, tomato, cassava, poultry, fish, maize, cocoa and livestock/dairy as
The CBN governor said in the past three months, it has made substantial progress but needed to interact more with State Governors to sustain the momentum.
According to him, “the ultimate objective is to make our States economically viable through enhanced investments by the private sector which would in turn create more economic opportunities at the sub national level, engage our teeming youths in meaningful enterprises, improve internally revenue base for states to meet the developmental expectation of its citizens.
“This is in addition to what we are doing through Anchor Borrowers Programme to support small holder farms in our rural communities.”
Speaking on the initiatives, he said the apex bank and stakeholders have revived the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) sector through Anchor Borrowers Programme.
He noted that the CTG initiative has helped in the cultivation of 200,000 ha of hybrid cotton distributed to 200,000 farmers in 26 States in the country.
He said the apex bank spearheaded the importation of improved cotton seed, disclosing that a total of 6,000 metric tonnes was imported while additional 2,000 metric tonnes of cotton seeds were sourced locally.
“The total expected yield at the end of the current season 302,440 metric tonnes. The distribution of inputs to cotton farmers was flagged off in Katsina on May 6, 2019. Our target is to work with relevant stakeholders to engage about 300,000 farmers to achieve 450,000MT of cotton in three years.”
He said the dairy industry had huge potentials such as the creation of millions of jobs and foreign exchange savings.
According to him, the dairy industry has an undeveloped meat processing infrastructure, declining tannery operations, inadequate large-scale private investments in cold storage and transportation, and insecurity arising mostly from pastoralists/farmers clashes, rustling, and other socio-economic challenges.
He explained that the apex bank’s flagship partnership on livestock development initiative is in Niger State.
In his words, “The State has 26 Grazing Reserves gazette but has chosen Bobi Grazing Reserve situated in Mariga LGA with land area of 31,000 ha with about 700 families with 300,000 heads of cattle resident thereon for the pilot project.
“As at today, four companies have expressed interest to invest in Bobi Grazing Reserve in Niger State. FrieslandCampina WAMCO and Neon Agro agreed to take 10,000 ha of land each, while Chi Limited and Irish Dairy are to develop 4,000 ha each. The State Government retained the remaining 3,000 ha for its development programmes.
“As at Tuesday FrieslandCampina WAMCO has cleared a total land area of 695 ha with 190 ha already planted with pasture. The company also completed a hydroponic centre and solar powered borehole while its Milk Collection Centre is awaiting the installation of equipment.
“Chi ltd has also signed contracts for the clearing and planting of pasture on its allocated 4000 ha.
“Niger State Government on its part has cleared and fenced 63 ha in 2 sites and planting of pasture is in progress. The Police post, administrative area, veterinary clinic, primary school were refurbished while a Primary Health Care Clinic is under construction.
“In Kaduna State Arla Group has existing projects in Damau, Amana, NAPRI Shika and Kagarko. Under the Bank’s livestock initiative, the company has committed to invest N12 billion to develop 6,000 ha of land in Damau Grazing Reserve. Arla is ccurrently refurbishing a milk processing plant and will soon commence milk off-take from 600 farmers in Kagarko.
“The Promasidor Group has been granted consent to develop the 500ha Ikun Dairy Farm Project in Ekiti State. the company has commenced work on the site with deployment of 20 tractors for land preparations while the planting of pasture will commence thereafter.
“Integrated Dairies Limited, an indigenous dairy company based in Jos, Plateau State has engaged the Plateau State Government and key stakeholders on the development of Wase Grazing Reserve. Nestle plc has indicated interest in developing its dairy project in Abaji, FCT. We are in contact with relevant government departments to fast track land acquisition and issuance of title documents.
“For these investments to bear fruits, the support of the state governments is needed through land, and other infrastructural amenities,” he explained.
He noted that the annual demand for palm oil in Nigeria stands at 2.5million mt of which only 1.25million mt,is produced locally leaving a gap of 1.25million mt per annum.
“This gap is currently being met through imports. The CBN oil palm initiative is aimed at closing the gap and also positioning Nigeria to incrementally export oil palm products to neighboring African countries and beyond.
“Closing the identified gap would require bringing about 312,500 hectares under modern cultivation at an estimated yield of 4 metric tons per hectare.
“Our target is to ensure that a minimum of 1.4 million ha of land is put under oil palm cultivation in three years. As a step in this direction, the Bank had met with 14 Governors who pledged to make available 100,000ha of land in each state.
“We currently have a total of 904,624 hectares which are available in the states for allocation and investors have been matched with the States of interest to process necessary documentation and titling requirement. The investors are to be funded from the Bank’s intervention programme. However, some of the States are slow in making the land available to these investors.”
He disclosed that the CBN through the banks have disbursed a total of about N30 billion in favour of six oil palm companies to support their expansion programmes.
He explained that over 40 applications from investors across the country for the cultivation of 126,694 hectares are being considered .
“NIFOR being the flagship oil palm research institute in Nigeria is being rejuvenated in collaboration with the leading oil palm major companies to meet the seedling needs of investors in the subsector,” the CBN boss explained.
Speaking further on tomato, he said, “to meet the tomato needs of the country and domesticate production, we held meetings with key Tomato Processing and Packaging Companies in the months of June, July and August 2019.
“Our resolutions were that smugglers are to be decisively dealt using tools legally available to us in order to make local production competitive.
“It was also agreed that the Bank should support their efforts in the acquisition of land in the states to establish tomato turn key projects in states with huge potentials for production.
Some of the major achievements under the tomato initiative listed by Emefiele are the following:
In Jigawa State, Sonia Foods Ltd has been allocated 2,380 ha land at Birniwa for its project. In addition, the Bank is funding about 18,000 farmers under the ABP to produce hybrid tomato for processing by Sonia foods Ltd.in the State. Sonia Foods is setting up a 1,000 mt/day processing and packaging plant in Jigawa State. This project is expected to create 110,000 jobs.
Dangote Tomato has a 1,200 tons/day tomato processing plant in Kadawa, Kano State.
” We are funding about 40,000 farmers to meet the tomato needs of the processing plant under the ABP. Inputs worth N4.18 billion procured for the initiative.
“The tomato processing plant owned by Savanna Integrated Farms in Gombe State is being reactivated and set to commence operation very soon. About 18,000 farmers were cleared to participate as out-growers under the ABP to supply raw materials to the factory”, Emefiele explained to State governors at the meeting in Abuja,