The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it will fund the rice milling plant for the 2000-hectare Coscharis Farm located at Anaku, in Anambra State, to ensure that the product is made available to consumers.
Besides, the apex bank has reassured that it’s ready to support any entrepreneurial initiative aimed at liberating the country from the stronghold of endless importation of items that can be made locally.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who made the remarks during the tour of the rice farm, expressed pleasure for switch to agriculture by a company he described as being in the business of machines, spare parts, and car importation for decades.
“We started this with him, about two years ago when we granted him a N2 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS). With his own resources, he added to it and that is why he is where he is today.
“We have naira, and we would lend to people so that we can grow our food and feed our people. Forecast has it that by 2050, Nigeria would have the third largest population in the world. So, we need to begin to prepare for that day. Nobody is going to prepare for us and we must be able to feed our people,” the governor said.
He reiterated that there is no foreign exchange to import food, especially when we can produce those items in the country.
The Managing Director of the farm, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, however, urged government to urgently respond to entrepreneurial challenges besetting the development and growth of businesses in the country.
Maduka said that beside the foreign exchange challenges, many other issues relating to the growth of private initiatives are left unattended, even at ministry level.
He said that the farm will provide full time employment for about 3000 people, as well as drive ancillary industrial growth in the state when all the phases of the investment are complete.
He said the farm phase of the business currently employs over 250 people, adding that the rice mill and irrigation components of the investment for which the CBN has given approval in principle to finance, will significantly enhance the capacity of the business to create more jobs and boost economic activities.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, noted that the response of enterprising Nigerians towards food production is now inspiring great confidence in our country.
“I think Nigeria’s independence is just beginning to be established and unless a country feeds itself, every other dream can’t be fulfilled. This is amazing and I have seen similar things in Kebbi State. I am very proud of Coscharis and the effort the governor is making to support him.
“I am also proud of the role the CBN is playing because they are giving a lot of credit support, even allocating the scarce foreign exchange that we have to a critical sector like agriculture.
“The rice sector alone will take up to two million people before we began to satisfy our needs of eight million tonnes. This is heavily mechanised, the smaller farmers don’t have all these machinery but they contribute immensely.
“Millers are there. The marketers, the transporters, the distributors, all of them will be part of this business, just for rice. We have not even talked about cassava, maize, sorghum, millets, beans, yams so the future is huge, the jobs are there. So, the time is coming when Nigerians don’t need to cross the desert to go and suffer in Europe,” he said.
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