As agriculture becomes the new bride for economic development in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, last week engaged state governors on 10 agricultural commodities. Abdulwahab Isa reports
As oil revenue keeps dwindling, both federal and state government are challenged by insufficient alternative revenue sources required to augment monthly income from the federation purse.
Finding additional source of revenue outside the usual oil and taxations is a routine topic frequently discussed at every meeting these days.
The dire economic situation at the state level of government, where governors stand and wait for monthly disbursement from Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) reinforces the quest to finding an urgent solution.
To check the ugly trend, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is charting a new economic prosperity direction across states with focus on agriculture, Nigeria’s abandoned and ignored economic treasury.
Of course, the apex bank’s initiative of enhancing agricultural development is focused on boosting the production of identified agricultural commodities that have high growth enhancement impact, ability to create jobs, improve capacity of industries, and conserve foreign exchange.
CBN’s agriculture roadmap
The apex bank’s recent effort in charting prosperous economic path for states via agriculture value chain has been embraced by the governors.
This, indeed, will wean states off their sole dependence on monthly income from FAAC.
In the last two years, the apex bank began making fresh inroad into the revival of dead key sectors, whose impact can rejuvenate economy.
The bank has spotted 10 key commodities where each state can play and make economic fortunes.
The commodities are rice, cotton, oil palm, tomato, cassava, poultry, fish, maize, cocoa and livestock/dairy.
They have been identified as key products to be developed along the value chain to achieve economic prosperity and job creation at state level.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, last week, presented the bank’s commodity road map to state governors with nineteen governors in attendance.
Emefiele said: “In the past three months, we have made substantial progress but we need to interact more with our state governors to sustain the momentum.
“The ultimate objective is to make our states economically viable through enhanced investments by the private sector which would in turn create more economic opportunities at the sub national level, engage our teeming youths in meaningful enterprises, improve internally revenue base for states to meet the developmental expectation of its citizens. This is in addition to what we are doing through Anchor Borrowers Programme to support small holder farms in our rural communities.”
Sector by sector scorecards
Emefiele took time to present CBN’s agriculture support initiative in each state.
Cotton, textile and garment sector, for instance, are abandoned sector the bank is making effort to revive.
Twenty six states have benefited from CBN direct interventions.
The states are Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Oyo, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Benue, Cross River, Edo, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun and Lagos.
Latching on its Anchor Borrowers Programme, CBN commenced with the cultivation of 200,000 of hybrid cotton distributed to 200,000 farmers in the 26 tates.
It spearheaded the importation of over 6,000 metric tones of improved cotton seed, in additional to 2,000 metric tonnes sourced locally.
Total expected yield at the end of the current season is 302,440 metric tonnes. The distribution of inputs to cotton farmers was flagged off in Katsina on May 6, 2019.
Livestock is another cash cow and money spinning venture for states. Emefiele sketched out progress made by the bank in this regard, using its flagship partnership on livestock development initiative with Niger State.
For instance, Niger state with 26 grazing reserves gazette but has chosen Bobi grazing reserve situated in Mariga LGA with land area of 31,000 hectares with about 700 families with 300,000 heads of cattle resident thereon for the pilot project.
For palm oil, the CBN governor said: “Our target is to ensure that a minimum of 1.4 million ha of land is put under oil palm cultivation in three years. As a step in this direction, the Bank had met with 14 State Governors who pledged to make available 100,000ha of land in each state.
“We currently have a total of 904,624 hectares which are available in the states for allocation and investors have been matched with the States of interest to process necessary documentation and titling requirement. The investors are to be funded from the bank’s intervention programme. However, some of the States are slow in making the land available to these investors.
“So far a total of about N30 billion has been disbursed through deposit money banks in favour of 6 oil palm companies to support their expansion programmes. The companies are PZ Wimar, Biase Oil Company Limited, Eyop, Okomu Oil Company, Presco Oil Company, SIAT Limited,” he said.
With regard to tomato, Jigawa and Gombe states have fully keyed in, with CBN concluding investment plans with two tomato processing and packaging firms in the months of June, July and August 2019.
In Jigawa State, he said, Sonia Foods Ltd has been allocated 2,380 ha of land at Birniwa for its project.
In addition, the bank is funding about 18,000 farmers under the ABP to produce hybrid tomato for processing by Sonia Foods Ltd in the State. Sonia Foods is setting up a 1,000 mt/day processing and packaging plant in Jigawa state. This project, he noted, would create 110,000 jobs.
Dangote Tomato has a 1,200 tons/day tomato processing plant in Kadawa, Kano State. The bank, he said, was funding about 40,000 farmers to meet the tomato needs of the processing plant under the ABP. Inputs worth N4.18 billion were procured for the initiative.
Nigeria is not maximising her potential in cassava production. Identified as the world’s largest producer of cassava tubers with 53 million mt per annum, yet it spends over $600 million per annum to import casava derivatives, an act Emefiele declared unpatriotic.
He announced forthwith, restriction of forex supply to import cassava by-products, which include starch and ethernol, among others.
The cassava initiative of the bank is to improve cassava productivity, stabilise prices and encourage local processing to generate employment.
Kogi State government has set aside 1.35 million ha of land for cassava cultivation and has, in addition plan to establish a processing plant to produce ethanol.
Maize cultivation is a select product of CBN, where states stand to reap bountifully. The bank has disbursed the sum of N5.38 billion to 41,237 farmers from 30 states of the federation.
The bank is currently collaborating with the 12 river basin development authorities on the use of irrigable land in their areas of operation for dry season farming.
Fish is an area Nigeria has strong opportunity cost, which it fails to utilise. Today, Nigeria has fish deficit of 1.9 million, incurring annual fish importation bill of about $1.2 billion.
CBN initiative on fish production is to engage the coastal state governors to develop the blue economy to address the deficit of1.9mt as well as eradicate the huge import bill for fish of about $1.2 billion. This is avery huge economic opportunity for the states to create an enabling environment for investors.
For poultry, the bank has entered into agreement with select tertiary institutions on piloting University – Based Poultry Production Programme. Twelve universities across the six geo-political zones are involved.
Rice is Nigeria’s most popular food. The bank has supported 849,480 farmers with N146 billion across the country in the wet and dry seasons.
“Working with other stakeholders we are waging a war against smuggling of rice into the country.
“Other rice mills financed by the Bank include the WACOT and Labana Rice Mills in Kebbi State, and Umza Rice Mill in Kano,” Emefiele told the state governors.
Unable to contain their happiness, the state governors showered commendations on Emefiele.
For Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, in whose domain Anchors Borrower Program for rice production was flagged off, he described Emefiele as an uncommon CBN governor.
He said: “The basis for banking is price stability; the basis for farming is food production. Mr. Emefiele has really captured the essence of central banking.
The governor said that there was a huge financing gap in the agricultural sector, adding that it would be difficult for the apex bank balance to absorb.
He said the intervention of CBN was a step in the right direction as it will provide the platform for others to invest in the sector.
The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that the apex bank should also come up with measures to match farmers with markets in order to reduce post-harvest losses.
He said one of the challenges facing the farmers was the lack of adequate storage system, adding that without an effective warehousing system, it would be difficult to add value to agric produce.
Also speaking, Chairman of Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, lauded CBN for its strides in agriculture; a novel engagement, he said, gave states new economic direction.
In his response, Borno State Governor Prof. Zanna Zulu, said he was aware of CBN intervention and support to his state.
However, he requested the bank to come up with deliberate measure that will attract investors to his state considering that the state is ravaged by insurgency.
“Right now, the situation in Borno does not allow investors to come to North East,” he said.
CBN’s economic revolution in agriculture value chain across states, if given all the support by governors, is a life line that will transform the states’ economies for the best.
OPEC+ likely to extend oil supply cuts until June – sources
OPEC and its allies are likely to extend existing oil output cuts when they meet next month until mid-2020, with non-OPEC oil producer Russia supporting Saudi Arabia’s push for stable oil prices amid the listing of state oil giant Saudi Aramco.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Dec. 5 at its headquarters in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other oil producers, lead by Russia, known as OPEC+. The current oil supply cuts run through to March 2020.
On December 5, Saudi Arabia is set to announce the final pricing of the initial public offering of Aramco, in what it hopes will be the world’s largest IPO. The oil price at the time is likely to be key to Aramco’s listing, expected around mid-December, reports Reuters.
“So far we have two main scenarios: either meet in December and extend the current cuts until June; or defer the decision until early next year, meet before March to see how the market looks and extend the cuts until the middle of the year,” said an OPEC source.
“It is more likely that we will extend the agreement in December to send a positive message to the market. The Saudis don’t want oil prices to fall, they want to put a floor under the prices because of the (Aramco) IPO.”
OPEC sources said market conditions in the first quarter of 2020 remain unclear amid concerns of a slowdown in oil demand and weak output compliance by some producers such as Iraq and Nigeria, which is complicating the outlook.
An OPEC delegate said: “My feeling is that (an extension) to end-June to avoid meeting again early March, with the possibility of calling for an (earlier) meeting should market conditions require it … is the likely scenario as of today.”
The two sources said formally announcing deeper cuts looked unlikely for now although a message about better compliance with existing cuts could be sent to the market.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, wants to focus first on boosting adherence to the group’s production-reduction pact before committing to any more cuts, they said.
“The Saudis want to see how the rest of those who are not complying (with the cuts) do first. There are no numbers being circulated so far for deeper cuts or changing output quotas,” said the first OPEC source.
Amrita Sen, co-founder of Energy Aspects think-tank, which closely watches OPEC and Saudi oil policies, said a mere extension by OPEC+ of the existing output cuts until June might not be enough to support oil prices.
“The market expects a further cut and an extension until the end of 2020. In any other scenario, the market will sell,” she said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin set the tone for the December meeting last week, calling Saudi Arabia’s position ahead of the talks “tough”.
Moscow argues that it will find it hard to cut oil production voluntarily during the cold winter months, especially in western Siberia, where Russia produces two-thirds of its oil and where most of its well rigs are located.
Freezing temperatures make it difficult for Russia to shut in and restart wells in winter months.
“There is no doubt that Russia won’t let the Saudis down in case of a price collapse, given the upcoming IPO,” said one source familiar with Russian thinking.
He added that Putin had developed close ties with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Russian government was aware that the three-year-old partnership could fall apart if Russia did not support Riyadh.
The OPEC+ alliance has since January implemented a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day, to help boost oil prices trading now at $62 a barrel.
“This is not only about supporting Saudi Arabia. The deal, without a doubt, is beneficial for Russia. The Russian budget has received more than $100 billion from the deal. And the deal has stabilized the Russian economy,” Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund, told Reuters.
Dmitriev and Energy Minister Alexander Novak were the key architects of a deal with Saudi Arabia, which began in 2017.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers in OPEC have been delivering more than their share of promised cuts to stabilise the market and prevent prices from falling.
In October, the kingdom raised its oil output to its OPEC target, pumping 10.3 million bpd to replenish its inventories after attacks on its facilities last month, but kept the volumes of crude supplied to the market at 9.9 million bpd.
Last week, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said U.S. shale oil supply growth could slow next year while demand may have upside potential, appearing to downplay any need to cut output more deeply.
Traders lament continuous border closure
The sustained border closure by Federal Government has continued to destabilise commodity retailers, especially those into food item business.
Investigation by New Telegraph revealed that the situation had started creating an atmosphere of hopelessness since the Federal Government has vowed to sustain the closure till end of January 2020.
Nigeria closed its land borders to both Benin and Niger in August in what the government said was aimed at curbing smuggling of goods, especially rice into Nigeria. The closure has led to increase in food prices and subsequently pushed up annual inflation in the country.
Speaking on the development, John Paul, who sells food stuff such as rice, beans garri, noodles, among others at Egbeda market, complained that since the closure of the border his business had been affected in terms of both patronage and restocking.
He said the effect of the closure was obvious, as he has both increased the price at which he sells as well as reduce the quantity he buys.
Another woman, who pleaded anonymity, complained that the fairly used clothes she sells were now difficult to buy.
According to her, before the closure of the border she used to purchase her goods from neighboring countries at cheaper price, but with the closure, she now buys here in Nigeria but at a high price.
Before the border closure she used to sell her clothes for as low as N300 or N400 depending on the quality of the material, but now she sells them for nothing less than N600.
Another woman, who also pleaded anonymity, explained that there were goods currently on demand but not available as a result of the closure.
“Products such as sardines and some brand of sanitary wares are no longer in the market,” she added.
ICPC bestows integrity award on FAAN staff
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has recognized a staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mrs. Josephine Ugwu for her honesty and integrity in the discharge of her duties.
Mrs Ugwu was presented with the award at a two day summit on ‘Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector’ jointly organized by the Office of the Secretary to the
Government of the Federation and ICPC in Abuja.
You will recall that in a celebrated case in the year 2015, Mrs. Ugwu while carrying out her duties as a cleaner at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos saw the sum of $12,200,000 in a toilet and submitted it to security officials. The money was subsequently returned to the owner. She has also refunded other sums lost by several other passengers at different times.
Mrs. Ugwu was subsequently given automatic employment by the Authority in recognition of her honesty and exemplary conducts.
The event climaxed with an hand shake to Mrs. Ugwu from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari. She was also given a brand new apartment in Lagos for her act of honesty and integrity.
Senate pledges to help AMCON recover N5.4trn debt
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sani, has declared that the Senate under the leadership of current Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, will join forces with the executive arm of government to wage serious and sustained war against obligors of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), whom he described as economic saboteurs, saying they must be made to repay the over N5trillion outstanding debt owed the corporation.
Sani made the declaration at the commencement of the 2019 retreat for members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, which began in Kaduna on Wednesday.
He said recovering the huge debt of AMCON had become a major burden for which the National Assembly will consider all options including reactivating the Failed Bank Act and at some point invite the pioneer management of AMCON under the leadership of Mustapha Chike-Obi to come and explain to Nigerians what they did during their tenure.
The chairman also hinted that the National Assembly would continue to support AMCON by providing all legislative supports including further amendment of the AMCON Act, if need be, to enable the corporation to recover the huge outstanding obligation.
He said the red chamber would bring up several motions that will enlighten the public on the real dangers of non-recovery of the debts to the economy. As the upper legislative arm provides AMCON with such support, the senator said if need be the Senate would along the line step on toes as far as the recovery of these national assets are concerned.
NSE extends gain with N46bn
Nigerian stocks market yesterday sustained its positive outlook as the overall performance measures, NSE ASI and market capitalisation, rose further by 0.36 per cent each.
Market watchers attributed development to renew of confidence as bargain hunters leverage on under value stocks.
Consequently, the All-Share Index rose by 95.94 basis points or 0.36 per cent to close at 26.872.09 index points as against 26.776.15 recorded the previous day while market capitalisation of equities appreciated by N46 billion or 0.36 per cent to close higher at N12.969 trillion from N12.923 trillion as market sentiment remained on the green territory.
Meanwhile, a turnover of 239.2 million shares in 3,585 deals was recorded in the day’s trading.
The premium sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 121 million shares exchanged by investors in 1,527 deals.
Volume in the sub-sector was driven by activities in the shares of FBNH Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.
The banking sub-sector boosted by the activities in the shares of GTB Plc and Sterling Bank Plc followed with a turnover of 45 million shares in 624 deals.
The number of gainers at the close of trading session was 21 while decliners closed at 12.
Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that Cornerstone Insurance Plc topped the gainers’ table with 10 per cent to close at 77 kobo per share while Oando Plc followed with 9.89 per cent to close at N3.89 per share and Flour Mills Plc with a gain of 9.85 per cent to close at N17.85 per share.
On the flip side, CCNN Plc led the losers’ chart with a drop of 10 per cent to close at N18.00 per share. Jaiz Bank Plc followed with a loss of eight per cent to close at 69 kobo per share while Lasaco Assurance Plc dropped by 7. 41 per cent to close at 25 kobo per share.
FirstBank reiterates commitment to women empowerment
The Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, has restated the lender’s commitment to empowerment of women.
He stated this at the bank’s first female-focused product, ’FirstGem’, 3rd Anniversary Conference held in Lagos yesterday.
He said: “May I reiterate that FirstBank is committed to the empowerment of women. We understand their story and recognise their invaluable contributions to the economy of our nation in particular and the global economy in general.
“Having identified the gaps in their lives, both in corporate Nigeria and in the entrepreneurial space, we are committed to bridging those gaps effectively by providing the tools required for women’s empowerment.”
The First Bank CEO said he was delighted that FirstGem was already in its third year, adding that the product, which was launched on 28 October 2016, was designed specifically to meet the financial needs of both corporate and entrepreneurial women.
“This product, apart from being an account dedicated solely to women, is lifestyle-enhancing. It provides a total lifestyle support for discerning women to enable them meet their economic needs and aspirations,” he said.
Savannah Bank: Reps summon Emefiele, NDIC boss
The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Banking and Currency to summon the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele and Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru, to ascertain the new status of Savannah Bank, its readiness to commence operation and to ascertain whether promoters of the bank have fulfilled all requirements to begin business.
The committee is also requested to invite the shareholders and the new management of the bank to brief it on possible ways they have fashioned to pay or refund depositors’ funds.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Aliyu Da’u Magaji (APC, Jigawa), at Thursday’s plenary of the House.
The committee, which is to submit its findings in two months, has also been mandated to ensure that effective measures are put in place to avoid the reoccurrence of what led to the withdrawal of the bank’s licence and eventual closure in 2002.
Pension: Workers invest N951.28bn in banking sector
Nigerian workers, who are active in their contributions under the new pension arrangement, Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), have so far invested about N951.28 billion in the banking sector.
The investment carried out on their behalf by pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) represent 9.93 per cent of the total N9.58 trillion pension assets.
According to a breakdown of the total investment posted on the industry regulator, National Pension Commission (PenCom)’s website, the pension fund managers also invested a total of N6.84 trillion in Federal Government securities within the period, representing 71.43 per cent of the total assets.
Details of the commitment shows that Federal Government bond got the highest with N4,47 trillion at 46.1 per cent; treasury bills, N2.2 trillion (23.62%); agency bonds N10.2 billion (0.11%); Sukuk, N80.52 billion (0.84), and green bonds, N13.37 billion (0.14%).
Within the same period, a total of N125.24 billion, representing 1.31 per cent was invested in state government securities while corporate debts securities gulped N621.95 billion, representing 6.49 per cent.
In the same vein, corporate bonds got N572.41 billion (5.97%); corporate infrastructure bond, N17.79 billion (0.19%); corporate green bonds, N31.71 billion (0.33%) and supra-national bonds N4.03 billion, representing 0.4 per cent.
Other areas invested in include commercial papers, N123.28 billion (1.29%), and foreign money market securities, N1.07 trillion (11.21%).
For mutual fund, they invested N9.90 billion (0.10%) in open/close-end funds and N11.91 billion (0.12%) in Reits.
The investment choice as stipulated by law setting up the scheme also includes real etste properties, N231.48 billion (2.42%); private equity fund, N32.06 billion (0.33%); infrastructure fund, N34.89 billion (0.36%) as well as cash and other assets, N26.47 billion, representing 0.28 per cent.
From recent development, the outlook of investment is likely to expand as the regulator disclosed recently that workers in the informal sector are gradually keying into the scheme.
According to the Head, Corporate Communications, PenCom, Peter Aghahowa, 19 PFAs have registered 28,000 micro pension participants as at November.
According to the breakdown, 21,430 participants were registered as at June 2019,b while in July, 221 participants were registered. In August 2019, 1,299 Nigerians were registered, September, 2737 registered and in October, 2313 participants registered.
While over 40 million Nigerians in the formal sector have no pension plan, which account for about 65 per cent of the GDP, Aghahowa said registration had, however, been challenged due to low financial literacy.
Other challenges include the need for National Identity Number (NIN), which is one of the criteria for registration; low awareness about the scheme and inadequate technology platform to support the registration process.
He said in a bid to tackle the challenges, the commission embarked on campaign across the traditional, social and digital media, engaging with union, associations, professional bodies and non-governmental organisations.
“Though NIN has slowed down the process of micro pension registration, PenCom has, however, collaborated with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that participants get their numbers on time to fast track registration.
“The commission is working on having its own USSD code to ease payment of pension contribution for enrollees,” he added.
Though the micro pension scheme is moving at a slow pace, the President, PenOp, Aderonke Adedeji, said there was need to give it time in order to avoid mistakes.
Speaking on the growth of the industry, Adedeji said 15 years after setting up the Contributory Pension Scheme, it has grown to over N9.trillion.
“However, we are not yet where we want to be. We need to address the issue of transfer window and the slow registration of NIN, but we are making progress in that aspect.
“In recent time, we have been experiencing slow pace of growth of the industry and the reason is not far-fetched.
“In terms of the state of the Nigerian economy, we have increase in unemployment rate which is a threat to the growth of the industry,” she added.
IGR: Taraba woos investors
To boost its internally generated revenue Taraba State Governor, His Excellency, Arc. Darius Ishaku, has called on local and foreigners to invest in its Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited so as to expand the production of Highland Tea.
Ishaku, who disclosed this to journalists during the launch of the tea in Lagos, said his administration planned to hands-off running of the firm soon and targeting interested investors both foreign and local to partner with the state government to expand the production.
According to him, the company currently employs over 3,000 people and also accepts green leaf from about 2,000 out growers who cultivate tea on 800 hectares of farmland across villages on the Mambila Plateau, which is enhancing the economic viability of communities on the Mambila Plateau and Taraba State at large.
He said that Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited, makers of Highland Tea, was one of the 25 moribund companies he revived under his rescued mission during his first term in office, all in a bid to create employment for Taraba citizens and generate more IGR for the state.
Speaking on the choice of Lagos to unveil the commodity, the governor stressed that Lagos was strategically chosen as venue of the launch because of its population, large market and returns of investment, saying that the firm plans to set up its Lagos office for the distribution of the product.
“Lagos, the largest market in Africa, a city of over 20 million people, you cannot but have to deal with them. The idea is to bring our Highland Tea from Taraba to Lagos where the large market is available so that we can expose it to Nigerians here. After the acceptability of the product here, we will then think of West African countries. We will export but let’s satisfy the home demand.
“Nigerians don’t even know much about Highland Tea. Some people have taken it, they love it but it’s not in the market. We are going to bring it to the market in Lagos.”
The governor explained that Highland Tea had demonstrated to be a home grown tea that is better than foreign ones in terms of health.
Speaking on the Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited, Ishaku noted that the company was a subsidiary of Taraba Investment and Properties Limited, which was incorporated as a private limited liability company in 2012 to manage the assets acquired by the Taraba State Government.
CBN to create 2m jobs via cassava value chain
In line with its ongoing strategic intervention in key sectors of the economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is intervening in cassava production, which it said has potential of providing two million jobs across value chain.
To bring cassava’s enormous potential to fruition, CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday in Abuja, facilitated the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigeria Cassava Growers Association and Large Scale Cassava Processors.
Emefiele, who underscored importance of cassava as agriculture commodity, said Nigeria is hugely blessed with the commodity.
He disclosed that Nigeria imports cassava derivatives valued at about $600 million annually.
The CBN governor linked the apex bank’s interest in cassava value chain to President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic diversification programme for Nigeria.
This, he said, was because economic diversification is an essential tool for national development, pledging that CBN would leave no stone unturned towards repositioning Nigeria on the map of the world not just as the leading cassava producer, but a processor as well.
To achieve the cassava sufficiency goal, he said the CBN was holding consultations with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike.
He said: “We place a high premium on cassava because the commodity can generally be used for different uses along the value chain. The value chain has enormous potential for employing over two million people in Nigeria if well harnessed, due to the diverse secondary products that it offers.
“Some of the products include High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF), starch, sugar syrups and sweeteners, chips for domestic livestock feed and for export to China, Ethanol/bio-fuels, High Fructose Cassava Syrup (HFCS), Fuel Ethanol (E10) as well as Animal Feed from cassava waste among others”.
“In our midst today are large corporations like Nestle, Flour mills, Promasidor, Unilever who require the secondary outputs from cassava such as starch, glucose, sorbitol etc. as raw materials for the production of their final products. We also have the companies whose responsibility is the processing of cassava to starch, glucose, ethanol etc., as well as members of the Cassava Farmers Association,” Emefiele said.
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