By Kadiri Abdulrahman
Abuja, Sept. 22, 2020 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, urged agriculture stakeholders to make adequate plans for the dry season farming to boost food security and avoid shortage.
Mr Yusuf Yila, Director, Development Finance Department of the bank made the call at a dry season stakeholders’ forum organised under the aegis of Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the bank in Abuja.
Yila said that food security was an important priority of the government, which the CBN would work to ensure its success.
He urged all stakeholders to play their roles effectively to ensure that the dry season farming succeeded.
“This is a meeting that is very important, especially coming after the floods in Kebbi, and given challenges posed by COVID-19.
“Food security is a very important priority of government and CBN will ensure its success.
“For the dry season, it is important that everybody plays his role to avoid delay,’’ he said.
Yila said that since inception in 2015, the ABP has contributed to agriculture revolution of government.
He said that programme would, henceforth, only accommodate stakeholders with a track record of credibility.
He added that four commodities would be in focus for the dry season programme and he called on commercial banks to ensure timely disbursement of the loans to farmers to enable them to plan on time.
He said that the apex bank had also reduced the risk-sharing ratio to further encourage the commercial banks.
“This year, we are focusing on four key commodities; rice, maize, tomatoes and wheat.
“For the banks, timely disbursement is very important; the CBN disburses early enough.
“For the dry season, there will be sanctions to banks that cause unnecessary delay.
“Agriculture is the next big thing, as the days of oil are over and if we do not get the dry season right, the country will have food issues,’’ he said.
Mr Chika Nwaja, Head, Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, said that the programme, since 2015 when it was launched, had spearheaded food revolution in Nigeria.
He said that the programme had accommodated about three million farmers cultivating 1.7 million hectares of farmland.
Nwaja urged stakeholders to improve agricultural techniques for improved yields.
He said that while other parts of the world were already in the fourth revolution that is digital, Nigeria was still grappling with the second revolution that is mechanised farming.
Naija247news reports that stakeholders, including farmers’ associations, commodity associations and representatives of different banks participated in the meeting.