The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, yesterday put the total amount of money disbursed under the Anchor Borrower’s Programme (ABP) in partnership with the state government and private sector group since the commencement of the programme, at N55.526 billion to over 250,000 farmers.
Emefiele stated this in his speech titled: “Engendering the Growth of Nigeria’s Poultry Industry,” which he delivered during the ground-breaking ceremony of Greenfield Integrated Poultry and Powderised Egg Facility at Emure-ile, Ondo State.
These set of farmers, according to the CBN Governor, have cultivated almost 300,000 hectares of farmland for rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soybeans, cassava, etc.
He said: “As you may all know, the ABP is designed to support small holder farmers by providing them with the requisite training, tools and funds at single digit interest rates, which will enable improved 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.
Emefiele pointed out that the Integrated Poultry Facility by Greenfield comprises a pasteurised liquid and powder egg processing facility, 200,000 commercial rearing capacity, 600,000 commercial layers, egg grading and packing centre, a state of the art Feed Mill, and modern Broiler Processing Operation.
He disclosed that Ondo State was working closely with the CBN through the ABP to support an outgrowers’ programme.
Emefiele added: “Let me note at this juncture that this attention to agriculture is by no means a bad strategy. In fact, agriculture can still be used as a key catalyst for creating jobs, reducing unemployment and driving growth in Nigeria.
“For example, many of you would recall that in 2003, importation of chickens was banned Nigeria, with the exception of day old chickens. Yet, this seemingly innocuous policy served as a major fillip for the poultry industry.
“Today, some analysts have put the Nigerian poultry industry to be worth about N1.2 trillion, comprising about 165 million birds, which produces over 650,000 Metric Tonnes of eggs and 290,000 Metric Tonnes of poultry, making Nigeria the largest producer of eggs in Africa.
“Despite this huge success in the sub-sector, statistics from Eurostat however highlight that between 2009 and 2011, over three million metric tonnes of poultry products were imported into the Republic of Benin, and eventually smuggled into Nigeria.
“This means that despite the huge domestic production, we are still far behind meeting our local consumption needs for poultry products.”
He said the central bank remains committed to working with state governments in supporting small holder farmers and processors across other items, just as he assured Ondo State Government of the continued support of the Bank.
Continuing, Emefiele disclosed that when the issue of the herdsmen attacks in some parts of the country in recent time was raised at the National Economic Council meeting held recently, Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu had highlighted the need to turn the adversity into opportunity.
“I latched on that. There are so many jobless people they will create jobs for them. Ondo State has thousands of hectares of lands where Chief Obafemu Awolowo had a ranch in those days.
“I understand the facilities are still there. So, what does it take? It is just to contain the cattle in a particular spot, provide them with water, provide green grass, fatten the cows, take the milk from them and we will now use the opportunities to force those who believe we should continue to import milk into this county to know that we can also produce milk in our country.
“We will need to do this with the support of state governments that we have ranches. Ondo State is one of them, Kano, Kaduna, Niger and Kogi states have indicated interest that those herders can come to their locations and that we can turn the hardship into opportunities and I keep saying that this country has opportunities, in this country we don’t have extreme weather.
“We at the CBN have said that we will give support to anybody that wants to tap the potential that God has given our country by providing access to finance and creating job opportunities for the youths.”
In his speech, Akeredolu estimated value of this project by Greenfield Investment, which is expected to be completed in one year, at about N42 billion.