The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released N35.9 billion for 166 projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme. CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed this at a meeting with vice chancellors of University-based Poultry Revival Programme in Abuja. Emefiele, who spoke through the CBN Deputy Governor on Economic Policy, Okwu Nnanna, said the apex bank’s interventions such as the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme and the Real Sector Support Facility had addressed the problem faced appreciably.
He said N507 million was also released to 433 farmers and another N238 million to 112 projects under Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme. Emefiele said apart from these interventions, CBN had recently financed the pioneer egg-powder production company in the country with N2 billion under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement-Real Sector Support Facility (DCRR-RSSF) window.
Speaking on the poultry revival programme, he said: “We have asked for information on the capacity of institutions and companies’ poultry pens, hatcheries, feed mills, size of crop farm and number of tractors for grains production.
“Others are commercially viable and bankable business plan; including processing facility as well as any other information that would enrich your participation in the programme. “We rely on the University based poultry production model because you have the existing Infrastructure, experience and human assets to enable production at reduced cost and in a competitive manner.
“Let me emphasise that we have structured this programme to ensure that they can be accessed by those who need them the most and are ready to operate their facilities in a commercially viable manner.
“This programme is directly in conformity with our resolve to diversify the economy, be catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth. While these are our ultimate goals, our main intermediate objective is to ensure that poultry production is increased as well as end the smuggling of poultry products into the country.
“The CBN would be committing considerable human, material, and financial resources to monitoring both the disbursement and utilisation of these funds in a robust and verifiable manner. “Participating institutions will be required to submit periodic returns on disbursements as well as an analysis of the impacts of the Fund they received” he said.
Emefiele said that CBN would also undertake regular on and off-site checks to ascertain veracity of the reports received hence enjoined the institutions, to help the bank in achieving these goals by ensuring that these funds were deployed in an effective and efficient manner.
A participant and President of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Mr Ezekiel Ibrahim, commended the CBN’s initiative. Ibrahim said he was optimistic that this initiative would address the main challenge in the sub-sector, the problem of cost per capita. According to him, this intervention will also go a long way in addressing smuggling of poultry products into the country.