The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said that the Apex bank would push for the production of tomato, cocoa and palm oil across the country in 2018.
He stated this when he visited the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh in his office on Wednesday.
The CBN governor said that the move was aimed at supporting government’s effort to ensure self-sufficiency and reduce food importation.
He added that he was at the ministry with a view to work out strategies that would actualise President Buhari’s pronouncement that rice importation would end by 2018.
He stressed that “We will galvanise Nigerians, the private sector and big companies to join us in this assignment. We have supported cassava production in some southern states and we are going to aggressively push tomatoes this year. We are working with the South Western States and the ministry toward pushing cocoa this year.
“The Development Finance Department of CBN has concluded its framework for palm oil in the south eastern and mid-western parts of the country. These are the things we are going to roll out this year, and I am sure that the kind of success we will see this year will be better than ever seen.”
Commenting on farmers-herdsmen clashes across the country, Omefiele said it was important for Nigerians to work together. “What is important is that we are Nigerians and there is the need for us to co-exist, work together and live together’’.
Emefiele said that the bank was working to make access to finance easy for citizens, especially farmers.
While appreciating the Apex bank for its support to farmers across the country, Ogbeh added that without the CBN, the successes recorded in the ministry in the last two years would not have been made.
He assured that in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BoA), would ensure that farmers who collected loans from CBN repaid them to enable others to benefit.
“The backing of the CBN is so crucial because we have to move forward. Our country has to survive. Once we end rice and eventually wheat importation, we will begin to drive other crops. We are going to re-launch cocoa this year in Ondo State, and revive the old trees with new fertiliser which has an inclusion of boron,’’ he said.