The South, South Animal and Crops Farmers Association of Nigeria, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for re-appointing Mr Godwin Emefiele as governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for another five years.
Elder Jacob, the Chairman of the group, who made this known in a statement on Friday in Warri, described Emefiele as a game changer with the introduction of Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
Mr Jacob, who is also the spokesman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), said the ABP had created value chain linked with each product and commodity producers to processors and off-takers.
“The value chain approach in APB agricultural development helps identify weak points in the chain in order to add more value to the chain.
“This has reawakened the interest of many processors and off takers to come into agriculture to create job opportunities for the youths and ensure food security,’’ he said.
He said that Emefiele was able to use his wealth of experience to transform the agricultural sector during his first tenure, adding that the re-appointment would help him take the nation’s agricultural sector to the next level.
“The various agricultural programmes marshalled by the CBN governor include the Anchor Borrower Programme has helped to minimise the importation of agricultural commodities and create employment.
“Before now, Nigeria used to imports rice and other commodities with trillions of naira yearly, but with the commitment of the Emefiele’s team, rice and other commodities importation has reduced drastically.’’
According to the group, Emefiele took agriculture to a greater height by financing the agricultural sector through the Commercial Banks.
Mr Jacob, who described ABP as a change initiative, said it had lifted thousands of small farmers out of poverty and generate millions of jobs for unemployed Nigerians, while farmers now contributed greatly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Products, GDP.
“We urge the apex bank governor to sustain the tempo to eradicate hunger and poverty completely out of this country.’’ he said.
He also commended the bank for working toward achieving its five years targets of sustainability and ensures food security.
Jacob highlighted the targets to include increase in the ratio of agricultural lending from 3.72 per cent of total bank lending in 2014 to 7.0 per cent; increased capacity utilisation from the current level of less than 50 per cent to about 80 per cent.
Others are empowering not less than 800,000 farmers in the rice, wheat, cotton, oil palm, sorghum, maize, millet, tomatoes and fish value chains.
News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the re-appointment has made Emefiele to become the first governor of the bank to get a two-term mandate since 1999 when the nation returned to democratic rule, and was first appointed as CBN governor in 2014 by the former President Goodluck Jonathan.