NIGERIA – CBN adds cassava and its derivatives (starch, ethanol and others) to forex restriction list to boost production, of which importation gulps US$600 million annually.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele noted that Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava tubers with 53 million mt per annum. However, the yield per hectare averaging 20 tonnes/ha is very low compared to other jurisdictions.

The cassava initiative of the CBN is to improve cassava productivity, stabilize prices and encourage local processing to generate employment, among other collaborations with states.

“We have also began to restrict foreign exchange to import of cassava and its derivative. Those who want to import cassava, starch ethanol and all other derivatives into Nigeria may not get funds,” Emefiele stated

To improve the cassava seed productivity, the bank is collaborating with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture on the production and supply of cassava cultivars that can increase yield up to 40 tonnes.

“Arrangements are underway to support 51,388 farmers to produce 830,820 metric tonnes of cassava tubers for some identified processors.’’ He added

Speaking on dairy sector, the CBN governor said Nigeria spends about US$1.5bn yearly on dairy imports such as milk, yogurt, cheese and other milk derivatives, adding that the bank would scale up its support for the sector.

“Over 95% of milk products consumed in the country is imported, a narrative that we are determined to change. The dairy industry had huge potential such as the creation of millions of jobs and forex savings.’’ He stated

Mid this year the bank clarified its proposed policy with regards to milk importation, maintaining that it does not intend to impose a ban on milk importation.

It noted that the new policy was seeking to restrict the sale of foreign exchange to milk importers with an aim of stimulating investments in local milk production.

As part of its interventions, the apex bank in collaboration with the operators sought to explore the backward integration model in the sector as well as investments in ranches.

CBN’s initiatives to enhance agricultural development are focused on boosting the production of identified agricultural commodities that have high growth enhancement impact, create jobs, improve capacity of industries, conserve foreign exchange has taken new dimensions.

The commodities they are focusing on are, rice, cotton, oil palm, tomato, cassava, poultry, fish, maize, cocoa and livestock/dairy.