There Would have Trouble Without Agric intervention – CBN
The Central bank of Nigeria on Friday said that if it had not intervened in the agricultural sector through various programmes under its Developmental Finance Initiative, the country would have been experiencing serious food shortage.
The CBN Director, Development Finance Department, Mr Yila Yusuf, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
Some of the of the intervention programmes are the Commercial Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme, the AGSMEIS Loans, Anchor Borrowers Programme, and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme among others.
Yusuf said that about N554bn had been disbursed through the programme since inception in 2015, with a total of 3.8 million beneficiaries.
He said, “Over 3.8 million farmers have so far benefited from the programme. The multiplier effect on the economy is huge.
“The ABP has helped farmers improve their yields. For maize we now do five metric tonnes per hectare and for rice we are improving from four metric tonnes to 10 metric tonnes per hectare. We will be trying out some Brazilian seeds that we will give to the anchors and their association.”
Yusuf further said that the CBN was making efforts to keep prices stable while ensuring food security that the programme had contributed to food sufficiency during the global lockdown occasioned by COVID-19.
According to him, apart from jobs that have been created, there is also productivity, as farmers have recorded improved yields through the programme.
He said, “We also look at how we can keep prices stable because food security is very important.
“A lot of countries went into protectionist mood due to COVID-19, if we did not have this programme we would be in serious trouble.
“We are guaranteeing a minimum support price for the farmers. We allocate rice to the mills and we follow up; the price is already reacting. You can get it for around N19, 000 now, and you can be sure that the rice is fresh and it is healthy.”
Speaking further, Yusuf, disclosed that the ABP was being expanded to include Strategic Maize Programme, aim to stabilise the price of maize.
He explained that the bank is making effort to guarantee outputs from the programme and release to the millers and as a way of encouraging more farmers into ABP, he said the bank no longer took cash from them as repayment for their loans.
But despite these interventions, the price of food is still on the increase based on the food price index released by the National Bureau of statistics as the inflation as of January was 16.47 per cent, while food inflation rose to 20.57 percent.
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