CBN mulls 5% interest rate loan facility for importers of agro-allied machineries
Having recorded an appreciable feat in the disbursement of several billion naira loans to small holders farmers under the series of credit schemes launched by the Presidency of Muhammadu Buhari, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) considers next phase of credit scheme which will centres on cheap funding for importers and fabricators of agro-allied machines.
The next phase of CBN’s credit scheme, which is considered a step further from the series of credit schemes meant for small holder farmers, including Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund among others, will now cover 5% interest rate credit for importers and fabricators of agro-allied machineries.
Speaking at the launch of local Ofada Rice tagged, ‘MITROS Rice’ planted, processed and packaged in Ogun state on Thursday, Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria declared that the next phase of credit scheme by the apex bank would be a graduation from small holder farmers to the importers and fabricators of agro-allied machines.
He said, “Ogun state continues to demonstrate the urge to support the focus of government to create jobs and to grow the economy. A country that doesn’t take agriculture seriously is naturally an unserious country. I am happy today that under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are taking agriculture very seriously and that is the reason, we at the Central Bank of Nigeria, we have made it a responsibility to say that we will continue to support any effort or attempt by anybody to grow our agricultural sector because in doing his, we produce food for our people. In doing this, we produce jobs for our people and in doing this we grow our economy.
“The selfish aspect of this, for me, is that it goes a long way to conserve foreign exchange because we will no longer be spending scare foreign exchange to import agricultural produce, we will now tell ourselves that we will eat what we produce and we will produce what we eat.
“Now, having supported thus far what I called primary agriculture, the farmers, to see that we grow rice, we grow cassava and we do some of those primary agriculture, the next phase, we will be embarking on is to tell ourselves, how do we process these foods? How do we mill the rice? How do we harvest the rice? And so on.
“We are going to be looking at providing cheap funding at no more than 5% for those who are going to be assessing facilities to acquire agric equipment like threshers, like harvesters, or those who will be going to fish farming, or those who will be going into feed mills. Be rest assured that if you identify yourself, you will be counted and we will support you.”
Also, Abubakar Bagudu, Governor Kebbi State, who is Chairman of Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodities and Production disclosed that Federal Government targets 50 million metric tonnes of rice production out of the 600 million metric tonnes of rice which the whole world currently produces, saying Nigeria’s government is doing everything humanly possible to increase production of rice in order to stop imports and create wealth and employments.
He said, “Nigeria is a blessed nation, all 36 states have capability of producing rice including and of course, FCT. With rice, I believe we can achieve what we have achieved even in the commodities like oil. Around the world, about 600 million metric tonnes of rice is produced every year, and in Nigeria, we are still at a little less that 10 million.
“Our land size estimates by the Rice Farmers Association which indicated that here we have about 12 million rice farms suggest that even if an average yield per farmer is a modest 5 tonnes, we should be producing 50 million metric tonnes not under 10 million metric tonnes that we are currently producing.
“Over the last few years, we have seen yields for going as low as 1.5 metric tonnes per hectare, per farmer to as high as 9 and 10 tonnes, which is comparable to yields that are achievable in the best places where rice is produced, that establishes our competitiveness.
“Even people quite often mistake competitiveness as being the lowest cost produced, that is not necessarily so, Nigeria has the ability to produce rice competitively and currently there’s no nation that can produce rice cheaper and deliver it to Nigeria and to be imported properly and compete with that rice which is being produced by Nigeria farmers.
“It is important for all of us to mobilise to patronise Nigeria rice and Nigeria commodity because if anything, we know how they are produced, we know the safety standard, we know the freshness compared to commodities whose short life is seldom in excess of seven years unlike MITROS Ofada Rice, or Lake Rice, Ebonyi Rice or any other Rice from any other Rice from any States in Nigeria.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria identifies that the more we fund agriculture, the more the yields will multiply and achieve the level at per with the best in the world, he concluded.
But, the host governor, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, noted that the MITROS Rice which is being produced, processed and packaged in Sawonjo, Ogun West and Asero, Ogun Central Senatorial Districts currently, later in Ijebu, Ogun East, have the capacities to produce and process 65,700 per annum with a strong intention to expand the production in no distant time.
Governor Amosun, who declared that the local Ofada Rice being produced in Ogun state and packaged ranging from 50kg, 25kg,10kg, 5kg and 1kg with the prices between N11,500 and N230, would also be sold on retail shelves in mega stores such as Shoprite, Spar, Ace among other mega stores across the country.
RAZAQ AYINLA & JOSEPHINE OKOJIE
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