- Proposes collaboration in multi-billion dollar seed industry
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has enjoined Nigerian tertiary institutions to promote research and well-designed programmes that will enhance agriculture and promote the country’s economic diversification drive.
Godwin Emefiele stated this while delivering a lecture titled “Jump Starting the Agricultural Revolution: The CBN Experience” at the 23rd -25th joint convocation lecture of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM).
Emefiele noted that the university community had a significant role in fostering research that would enhance yields per hectare by farmers and reduce other challenges faced by farmers such as access to markets and storage facilities for their produce.
Citing the agricultural success of Israel made possible through research into irrigation, he said the CBN was eager to see how the university community and the graduating students could leverage their knowledge and research to come up with similar breakthrough solutions that would improve productivity of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
The governor, who was represented by Philip Yusuf, director, Development Finance Department, said the apex bank was ready to provide a commercial outlook to research breakthroughs on improved seeds by ensuring a guaranteed market through off-take of those seeds for adoption by Nigerian farmers under the Bank’s facilitated Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
According to him, the seed industry was a multi-billion dollar investment, and offered the potential for collaboration between the CBN, and the university community. While declaring the apex bank’s readiness to partner with Nigerian universities to achieve this objective, he also urged them to set up demonstration farms in farming areas, where farmers can come and obtain knowledge on the right farming practices to adopt in order to increase their yields and output.
Emefiele also highlighted the impact of the central bank’s intervention in the agricultural sector in Nigeria, noting that the cumulative effect of the interventions had, among other things, assisted Nigeria to achieve progressive increase in agricultural outputs along major agricultural commodities. He urged the graduating students to leverage the knowledge acquired at the school towards applying it in supporting further growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector given its immense opportunities.
He also charged other Nigerian youths to cue into the bank’s intervention schemes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and the Agribusiness, Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) in order to make their own towards the country’s goal of addressing the challenge of rising demand for food, in spite of the progress made in the production of staple food items.
The CBN governor, who bemoaned the country’s overreliance on crude oil earnings, said the CBN, as part of its mandate to ensure price and monetary stability, had to intervene in the agricultural sector in order to diversify the Nigerian economy as well as mitigate the impact of global shock to the economy arising from volatility in the price of crude oil.