NIGERIA – A two-year implementation of the Anchor Borrowers Programme by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has contributed to the creation of about 890,000 direct jobs and 2.6 million indirect ones, with the disbursement of US$155.6 million.

The programme, which is in partnership with state governments and several private sector groups, also aided the disbursements to over 250,000 farmers, who cultivated almost 300,000 hectares of farmland for rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soybeans, cassava, among others.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who made the disclosure when he performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of Greenfield Integrated Poultry Facility, alongside Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, in Emure-Ile, said the current attention to agriculture is by no means a bad strategy.

Meanwhile, Emefiele was at the weekend, honoured twice as the Silverbird Man of the Year and The Sun Publishing Limited’s Public Service Award for 2017.

The Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the Sun Publishing Limited, Eric Osagie, said the recognition was well deserved, lauded Emefiele’s policies, including various interventionist programmes geared towards poverty eradication and which have continued to engender sustainability and restoration in the Nigerian economy.

He particularly noted that under Mr. Emefiele’s watch, the country had witnessed a massive drop in the volume of rice importation and an upscale in rice self-sufficiency, leading to relaxed pressure on foreign exchange.

The programme also provides a ready market for farmers by linking them with credible off takers and processors of their produce.

“With the commencement of the Greenfield Integrated Poultry Facility, we expect that the implementation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in the State will be tremendously expanded.

This will surely go a long way in providing needed inputs for the facility.”

Despite this huge success in the sub-sector, statistics from Eurostat, however highlight that between 2009 and 2011, over three million Metric Tonnes of poultry products were imported into the Republic of Benin, and eventually smuggled into Nigeria.

The state Governor, Akeredolu, said his leadership will remain a beacon of hope to many of its citizens, as efforts are well on track towards being a major food basket in Nigeria, as well as fulfil its promises.

He also raised the hope of continuing to provide the enabling environment towards attracting increased investment in the state, a drive that has made it possible for the current investment by Greenfield.

The Chief Executive Officer of Greenfield Limited, Dr. Paul Obanua, explained that the facility comprises a pasteurised liquid and powder egg processing plants; 200,000 Commercial Rearing Capacity; 600,000 Commercial Layers; Egg Grading and Packing Centre; a state of the art Feed Mill; and modern Broiler Processing Operation.

He assured that the completion of the first phase construction will be due in just one year, marking the take-off of the production.

The Guardian Nigeria