By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured rural farmers cheap loans and access to these credit facilities so as to boost their yields.
The apex bank said it would make this possible with the support of the National Agriculture Land Development Authority (NALDA).
Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, expressed optimism that when this is put in place, jobs would be created for the teeming population.
Speaking at the recent inauguration of the first NALDA Integrated Farm Estate in Suduje Daura, Katsina State, Mr Emefiele noted that the agency, an integrated farm estate, is expected to serve as an agricultural hub for inhabitants with its wide range of facilities to support farming, processing and packaging plants, storage, clinics, residential area, school, training centres among other facilities.
The CBN boss expressed the apex bank’s readiness to work with NALDA to replicate similar integrated farm projects in rural communities in order to make life more meaningful for inhabitants of those areas through the provision of affordable and accessible finance to the beneficiaries under the integrated farm programme.
Taking a step further, he commended the administration of Mr Muhammadu Buhari for resuscitating NALDA to optimally deliver on its mandate.
Mr Emefiele stressed that Nigeria’s survival as a country was hinged on the resourcefulness and synergy among the government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in areas of policy formulation and implementation, which he emphasised was essential to the attainment of Nigeria’s desired economic growth.
He also urged deposit money banks in the country to support the NALDA mandate, which he noted, aligned with the developmental priorities of the CBN.
Speaking further, Mr Emefiele added that the CBN, through the deployment of well-targeted intervention programmes to farmers in the rural communities, was aiding the government’s efforts at improving job and wealth creation.
“These measures are also supporting our nation’s food security objectives. Nigeria is likely to make significant strides over the next three years in repositioning our agricultural sector for greater growth, given the combined efforts of NALDA, and the CBN’s in making land and credit available to farmers.
“Our development finance efforts were also driven by the need to diversify the economy by reversing the ugly trend of relying largely on revenues from crude oil,” he said.
The CBN chief added that the CBN was also positioned to ensure the integration of rural farmers into the Federal Government’s Economic Sustainability Plan, which is focused on providing five million homes with electricity using renewable energy.
In his contributions, the Governor of Katsina State, Mr Bello Masari, and his Kebbi State counterpart, Mr Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, expressed gratitude for the commitment of the federal government to boost agriculture for food security and employment generation.