In just two years of implementation of the Anchor Borrowers Programme by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the initiative has contributed to the creation of about 890,000 direct jobs and 2.6 million indirect ones, with the disbursement of N55.53 billion.
Besides, the programme, which is in partnership with state governments and several private sector groups, aided the disbursements to over 250,000 farmers, who cultivated almost 300,000 hectares of farmland for rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soybeans, cassava, among others.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who made the disclosure when he performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Greenfield Integrated Poultry Facility, alongside Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, in Emure-Ile, said the current attention to agriculture is by no means a bad strategy.
Meanwhile, Emefiele was at the weekend, honoured twice as the Silverbird Man of The Year and The Sun Publishing Limited’s Public Service Award for 2017.The award came on the heels of several international recognition and awards for reforms and policies that helped the country navigate through economic challenges.
The Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the Sun Publishing Limited, Eric Osagie, said the recognition was well deserved, lauded Emefiele’s policies, including various interventionist programmes geared towards poverty eradication and which have continued to engender sustainability and restoration in the Nigerian economy.
He particularly noted that under Mr. Emefiele’s watch, the country had witnessed a massive drop in the volume of rice importation and an upscale in rice self-sufficiency, leading to relaxed pressure on foreign exchange.
Emefiele thanked the Sun for finding the CBN worthy of the award and dedicated the award to all staff of the bank, stressing that CBN had the best crop of personnel capable of competing with those at other central banks from any part of the world.
“Agriculture can still be used as a key catalyst for creating jobs, reducing unemployment and driving growth in Nigeria”‘ adding that in 2003, when importation of chickens was banned, with the exception of day old chickens, the policy served as a major fillip for the poultry industry.He said that ABP is designed to support smallholder farmers by providing them with the requisite training, tools and funds at single digit interest rates, to improve cultivation of key agricultural items such as maize, soybeans, rice, cotton and wheat.
The programme also provides a ready market for farmers by linking them with credible off takers and processors of their produce. “With the commencement of the Greenfield Integrated Poultry Facility, we expect that the implementation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in the State will be tremendously expanded. This will surely go a long way in providing needed inputs for the facility.
“Today, some analysts have put the Nigerian poultry industry to be worth about N1.2 trillion, comprising about 165 million birds, which produces over 650,000Metric Tonnes of eggs… making Nigeria the largest producer of eggs in Africa.