Uche Usim, Abuja
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Thursday hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his political will to partially close all land borders in the country, describing it as a revitalisation strategy for Nigerian farmers, who were already on the throes of death following the unchecked smuggling and dumping of goods in the country.
Speaking after a meeting with some state governors in Abuja on the need to urgently industrialise the country, Emefiele said rice farmers and other crop producers have joined in praising the Federal Government’s efforts in sanitising the borders, which has remarkably improved local food production.
He said the apex bank has so far supported 849,480 farmers with N146 billion across the country in the wet and dry seasons.
“We are working with other stakeholders; we are waging a war against smuggling of rice into the country. We have identified 10 key commodities including rice, cotton, oil palm, tomato, cassava, poultry, fish, maize, cocoa and livestock/dairy as key enterprises to be developed along the value chain to achieve the above stated goals.
“In our efforts to revive the CTG sector through Anchor Borrowers Programme, we commenced with the cultivation of 200,000 ha of hybrid cotton distributed to 200,000 farmers in 26 States.
“A total of 20 ginneries in seven states , include Borno, Gombe, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger and Zamfara were identified to off-take the cotton financed by the bank. The ginners are to sell their lint to textile factories with the ultimate objective of producing textiles to meet the needs of the members of the uniformed services.
On livestock, the CBN governor said Nigeria spends about $1.5 billion yearly on the importation of dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese and other milk derivatives.
“In essence, over 95 per cent of milk products consumed in the country is imported, a narrative that we are determined to change. The dairy industry has huge potential such as the creation of millions of jobs and forex savings. In addition, the sector 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”.