From Uche Usim, Abuja
In line with its food security blueprint, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released N12.552 billion to large, medium and small-scale poultry farmers in the country.
The Director, Development Finance Department at the Bank, Mr Phillip Yila Yusuf, who confirmed the development, explained that the disbursement of funds to farmers was an ongoing process as more farmers are being shortlisted for the loan.
The move, he added, seeks to boost egg and meat production as well as creating more jobs in the country.
According to him, between the last quarter of 2019 and November 2020, farmers in the poultry value chain in the country received a total sum of N12,552,000,000 from various commercial banks and the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank.
According to the CBN Director, large-scale companies that benefited from the CBN intervention programmes include Fortune Heights and Animal Care, both in Ogun State; Dasco Engineering in Lagos, Olam Hatcheries in Kaduna, Eastern Plains in Anambra State and Emmpek Farms in Delta State. Other beneficiaries listed under the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) window include Elabi Farms in Bayelsa and Aladeyelu Farms in Ondo.
He added that 639 poultry farmers that applied through the regular AGSMEIS window had also received funds as Autonomous Poultry farmers, through NIRSAL MFB, to the tune of N1.996 billion. Similarly, the sum of N1.591 billion has been disbursed to 898 poultry farmers across the country to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on their operations.
According to him, the additional fund will be disbursed to poultry farmers before the end of 2020 to guarantee, among other objectives, improved affordability and accessibility of eggs, broiler meat and day-old-chicks; an assured market for egg-producers through off-take; employment creation for existing and new poultry farmers and improved protein intake for Nigerians.
The CBN in 2019 hosted 12 universities from six geo-political zones of the country to partner with them in a pilot scheme known as university-based Poultry Revival Programme aimed at further addressing the demand gap and unlocking the potential of Nigerian poultry producers, through the involvement of universities.
Meanwhile, some large-scale poultry farmers that have benefited from the intervention schemes of the CBN again lauded the Bank’s intervention in the sector, noting that, post-COVID-19, the poultry sector in Nigeria would witness a great boost. The duo of Alhaji Mashey Rasheed and Dr Ayoola Oduntan, the Chief Executive Officers of Premium Farms and Amo Byng Nigeria Limited, respectively, urged other players to embrace the interventions by the CBN in order to enhance job creation opportunities in Nigeria.