Nigeria has succeeded in reducing the importation of food items by 60 per cent from 2015 to date, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, reported.
Emefiele said that the government, in the process, saved $800 million.
The reduction was affected five major food items – rice, wheat, sugar, tomatoes and milk.
At a special town hall meeting on government’s agriculture intervention organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Jigawa State, he explained that $1.4 billion was spent on the importation of the five commodities by 2013, and $678.6million was spent at the end of 2017.
Emefiele who was represented by his special adviser, Mr Olatunde Akande, compared statistics and the impact of agriculture revolution in the country along the five major commodities of sugar, milk, rice, tomatoes and wheat between 2013 and 2017.
The CBN governor noted that at the end of 2017, the rate of food importation had reduced by almost 60 per cent in terms of the value of food import into Nigeria for these five commodities.
According to Emefiele, the CBN is supporting the rice paddy programme, a food security programme for large enterprises.
“What we have done is that we have looked at five key commodities – sugar, milk, rice, tomatoes and wheat. In 2013, the country spent $1.4 billion to import these commodities into the country.
“As at the end of 2017, that figure had reduced by almost 60 per cent the value of food import into Nigeria for these five commodities. At the end of 2017, we only spent $678.6 coming from $1.4 billion. In the past four years, CBN has been so supportive of the government, especially in the agricultural revolution of the government.
“The flagship, of course, is the Anchor Borrower Programme which was launched in November 17, 2015 by Mr. President, and since then, the CBN has supported over 850,000 small rural farmers. The CBN has disbursed over N160 billion under the Anchor Borrower Programme.
“Why the programme is very popular is because the target is small, rural farmers. There are lots of other programmes the CBN has done targeting large scale commercial farmers, small sale commercial farmers and other enterprises, but this is specifically for small rural farmers”.
The CBN boss explained that the Anchor Borrower Programme was not specifically meant for rice farmers; however, 80 per cent of subscribers are into rice farming.
According to him, the programme has so far supported 15 different commodities like cassava, fish, groundnut, cotton, maize, poultry, soy beans, oil palm, among others.
Emefiele explained further that another project supported by the CBN was the presidential fertilizer programme.