Food export: Farmers should harness Banks’ loans to boost forex trading


With the  Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) pronouncement that the non-oil exporters repatriated the sum of $4.99 billion into Nigeria in 2022. The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this while delivering a keynote address at the second edition of the RT-200 Bi-annual Export Summit recently in Lagos.

It is time for our teeming farmers in their clusters and cooperative especially export crop farmers to harness the various loans package made available by the Apex bank and the commercial banks to plan for the 2023 year sequentially taking the advantage of dry season farming the harmattan period.

Records have shown that dry season farming is usually the best system of farming considering the fact that farmers can be able to measure the quantity of crops with periodic monitoring without natural destruction of the plant  caused by erosion or flood as a result of excess rainfall. Most of the Export crops usually planted during the dry season are cotton, rice, wheats, and some perishable goods like tomatoes, onions, watermelon, cucumber, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes among others.

In  general, dry season farming increases food supply and ensures the best prices throughout the year. Recently, the government has significantly increased its participation in such agricultural practices, increasing investment in dry seasonal agriculture. The prices of fresh agricultural products from the dry season farming are higher. This is the case in a free economy, where supply and demand forces play an important role in determining product prices.

As the war between Russia and Ukraine hits harder, it is gradually affecting the supply and causing the scarcity of wheat worldwide. And the figures from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that in 2020, Russia accounted for about 11 per cent  global wheat production and 19 per cent of global wheat exports, making it the world’s largest wheat exporter that year but with the ongoing crisis with Ukraine, there is general shortage of wheats supply globally. Our local commercial farmers can see this great opportunity to concentrate in embarking on large scale wheat farming to bridge this gap of supplying wheats in the local and International markets considering the fact that it’s a dry season farming product.

Though the Central Bank recently stated that it is targeting 95 per cent financial inclusion by 2024. In line with that, the Federal Government has launched five strategic policy reports with a view to actualising the target. The bank has disbursed N1.07trillion to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. The bank’s communiqué no.145 released after its recent Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja. But the halting of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme remains a setback to the agricultural Sector. The programme should be reintroduced by the Apex bank with policy guidelines that only genuine farmers will benefits the package.

The  Special credit intervention fund created by the Federal Government of Nigeria to fast track the development of the agricultural sector is a good development by the Apex bank to commercial banks but policies thrust make the platform difficult for farmers to harness.

The Bank of Agriculture needs urgent attention and and a total overhaul to fulfill its role as the leading agricultural bank in Nigeria — with the help of over 201 retail outlets nationwide, 6 zonal offices and its headquarters in Kaduna. Farmers are not benefitting loans from this bank as most of their state officers render zero services.

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council which is saddled with the responsibility of promoting non-oil products in Nigeria to the rest of the world by designing and implementing progammes that would connect exporters of agricultural or non-oil products from Nigeria to foreign buyers globally has a vital role to enlighten millions of Nigerians in picking interest for Exporting activities thereby reducing the high rate of Dollar exchange against the Naira at the forex market. The tiers of Government must deliberately introduce policies that will encourage more investment into the non oil exports so that more farmers will key into the system.