By Babajide Komolafe
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has concluded plans to reduce importation of wheat by 60 percent over the next two years under its import substitution program.
Meanwhile, the apex bank is also set to finance one million hectares of rice farms this year as part of measures to ensure availability and stabilize the price.
Disclosing these on Wednesday in Gombe at the flag-off of the 2020 wet season harvest aggregation and the second cycle of the 2020 dry season distribution, Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, stated: “CBN is committed to improving local production of wheat and reducing importation by 60 percent over the next two years. There is therefore no need to panic over the current prices of major staple food items.”
While commending the resilience of farmers in Nigeria, who continued to farm to ensure food sufficiency in the country in spite of the challenges of insecurity in some parts of the nation, Emefiele warned hoarders and smugglers of products such as rice to desist from such as the apex bank is working with relevant agencies to ensure the stability of food prices in the country.
Emefiele noted that the Anchor Borrowers Program, ABP, has led to significant improvements in agricultural outputs as well as in improving incomes in the rural communities, adding that the achievements that have been recorded has also helped to show that Nigeria can achieve self-sufficiency in the production of staple food items within the shortest time possible.
“It is also encouraging news which presents different narratives which portend that most of our farmers are unable to go to their farms due to nationwide insecurity,” he said.
The CBN governor further disclosed that the apex bank had financed 3,038,649 farmers cultivating 3,805,844 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 states of the Federation and FCT, from the inception of the scheme till now.