Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has expressed satisfaction with the level of interest in agriculture and the tremendous impacts, which the sector has recorded in the country in the last six years.
Emefiele while addressing journalists during an inspection tour of the palm plantation at Odighi village in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State at the weekend said with the rising cost of food items across the globe, what would have happened to Nigeria without the foresight to revamp the agricultural sector.
The CBN Governor said the bank has assumed a pivotal role since 2015 upon the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari that “We produce what we eat and eat what we produce” by coming up with several initiatives aimed to reposition the sector with a view to creating employment opportunities as well as growing the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
On his assessment of the developments in the farm, Emefiele who was visibly elated with the strides being recorded in the production of maize and cassava already and expressed optimism that in the next twelve months, palm produce harvests would have commenced.
The CBN governor thanked Governor Godwin Obaseki for matching words with action by making sure that arable land is made available to those who are genuinely interested in agriculture. He also appealed to other state governors to emulate Edo State, which has so far, made available about 70 per cent of the promised arable land.
Emefiele also commended the efforts of the promoting company, Agri-Allied Resources and Processing Limited and its parent company, Tolaram Limited for heeding to the clarion call made by the CBN to source their critical raw materials locally.
He noted that the company has painstakingly embraced the backward integration principles by acquiring farmland to the tune of 18,000 hectares for the cultivation of oil palm, cassava and maize, which are the critical raw materials used by the group.
In his remarks during the visit, the Managing Director of Agri-Allied Resources, Mr Madhukar Khetan hinted that the company has so far accessed a ten-year loan in the sum of N15bn at a single-digit interest rate with a two-year moratorium, under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) for the project. The farm currently has about one thousand workforce.