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CBN canvasses implementation of strategies for food security, safety

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Emefiele. Photo/TWITTER/GOVWIKE

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has warned that unless urgent steps are taken and resilient actions implemented, Nigeria will have to contend with an intractable food crisis.

He noted that severe disruptions in the agricultural value chain due to security challenges in the country and the COVID-19 health crisis had led to the apprehension.

He stated this in his keynote address at the 2021 CBN Executive Seminar in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, stressing that the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), reported that at least 9.2 million people in Nigeria faced food crisis between March and May 2021.

Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, said the fact that the United Nations projected Nigeria’s population to be around 398 million by 2050, should challenge the country to implement strategies targeted at achieving food security and safety.

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He said the seminar with the theme: Food Security In Nigeria: Options For Policy was apt, stressing that it could not have come at a better time than now when security issues, climate change and COVID-19 disruptions were challenging food production and supply in Nigeria and the global economy.

He noted that CBN had engaged in several development initiatives aimed at increasing food production, creating job opportunities, diversifying the economy and release of N987.825 billion under its N 1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility to 262 projects on agriculture, manufacturing, mining and services sectors.

“The CBN has disbursed over N802.920 billion to 3, 038, 899 farmers cultivating over 4.7 million hectares of arable land in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja under the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP).”

“The programme has helped the participants to improve their yields, especially maize from 1.5-2.0 metric tons per hectare to an average of 5.0 metric tons per hectare, while rice cultivation improved from 1.5-2.0 metric tons to 4.0 metric tons per hectare,” he stated.

He further explained that under the scheme, the apex bank had disbursed N134.568 billion to about 38,140 beneficiaries and over N708.388 billion to finance about 652 projects since inception under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, among others.

Declaring the seminar open, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Moses Ekpo, commended the organisers for hosting the conference in the state.

On her part, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Glory Edet, urged the CBN to liaise with states ministries of agriculture on its loan schemes to farmers to enable the farmers to access such facilities.

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