CBN empowers 850,000 farmers
Over 850,000 small holder farmers have been integrated into the mainstream financial system through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said.
The apex bank governor, in a speech delivered at Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) 10th year anniversary in Lagos yesterday, with the theme, “The Business Case for Financial Inclusion,” said this was in line with the central bank’s financial inclusion strategy.
Emefiele was represented at the event by the Deputy Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi.
According to him, the capital requirement for unit microfinance banks (MFBs) have been increased to N100 million, State MFBs, N1 billion and National MFBs N5 billion respectively.
This, he said was with a view to positioning them to deliver sustainable micro finance services.
“We will also reinforce our supervision and regulation of financial institutions to ensure delivery of affordable and sustainable services to Nigerians. I want to reassure you that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring a credible, reliable and effective payments system as well as a stable and sound financial system, in view of their strategic significance for financial inclusion. “We are poised as a bank to ensure that we reach the target of 20 per cent exclusion rate by 2020. This will be supported by massive agent roll out under the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility, implementation of the approved national identity management framework as well as the micro-insurance and micro-pension services, collective investment schemes and extensive collaborative programmes with government and development partners, amongst others,” he added.
He reiterated that much needed to be done, if the nation would achieve its target of 20 per cent exclusion rate by 2020.
Afe Babalola wants govt to boost agriculture
The Founder/Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) in Ekiti State, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has urged governments at all levels to invest more in agriculture to create jobs.
Babalola said Nigeria can overcome poverty, hunger and unemployment if governments invest in agriculture, which he said holds a better promise than white collar jobs.
He warned that Nigeria could be listed as a beggarly nation if government policies are not favourable to the Agricultural sector.
The eminent lawyer spoke at the weekend at the grand finale of this year’s Afe Babalola Agricultural Expo (ABA-EX) on ABUAD campus in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
Babalola noted that Nigeria is bedevilled by “grinding poverty, spiralling unemployment and insecurity” because of the abandonment of agriculture.
The eminent lawyer said he was disturbed by the rate youths to embrace commercial motorcycling instead of farming.
He said: “The unwholesome situation has suddenly and sadly made Ekiti State the headquarters of Okada riders.”
Babalola suggested that agriculture is made attractive to youths so that the sector would give them fulfilment.
According to him, organising the exhibition every year is his contribution to identifying with farmers.
Flood ravages rice farms in Sokoto
Rice farmers in Sokoto State have lost an estimated 61,197.5 tonnes of rice valued at N27.5 billion due to flood. Alhaji Ibrahim Salihu, the state Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) stated this on Thursday when the association visited some of the affected farms.
Salihu also noted that the flood-affected 19,000 rice farmers across the 23 local government areas of the state.
He said: “Based on the estimates, the cultivated farms’ yields lost to floods are 61,197.5 tonnes because farms were submerged by rainwater and crops destroyed before harvest.
“Yields lost can be quantified to be 3,059,875 bags, while if converted to money each bag of 100kg is N9,000 at an open market, therefore, at least about N27,538,879, 000 was lost.”
Noting that the farmers had reached out to the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Company (NAIC) for remedy, he appealed to the Federal Government to come to the aid of the affected farmers.
Officials of Central Bank of Nigeria, Unity Bank, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, NAIC and RIFAN National President, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo were part of the inspection team, which visited Goronyo Dam, Takakume, Falaliya, Lakoba and Wurno Rice Farms, among other affected areas.
Why Nigeria’s earnings from cashew may drop
NIGERIA’s hope of exceeding earnings of $402 million from cashew exports this year is being threatened, National President, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria, Dr Victor Iyama, has said.
Iyama said this was due to the plummeting of international prices and reduced demand for Nigeria’s cashew following massive production from other producers. He said international prices for cashew have dropped since March, following massive production by Tanzania, India, Vietnam and others.
Global market prices for various grades of raw cashew are between $1,500 and $2,100 per tonne. However, the rates had come down to between $1,800 and $2,000 per tonne by May 2018 and declined further to between $1,600 and $1,800 by the end of June of this year.
As a result, buyers have objected to high prices. Given the declining market, he said, exporters have also been buying limited volumes.
He said cashew nut exporters are seeing a slump in sales as exporters try to get out of contracts because of the drop in world prices.
He said the industry was concerned about unpredictable prices.
He attributed this to Apapa Road gridlock, which makes trucks carrying cashew to spend close to a month on the road.
Iyama said Nigeria produced 220,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts out of World’s 2.1 million tonnes last year, adding that the country exported 120,000 metric tonnes this year.
Farmers in the country earned N123 billion ($402 million) from the export of cashew last year. Export earnings from cashew nuts have witnessed a steady increase in the last two years, rising from $152, 000,000 in 2015, to $259,000,000 in 2016 and $402, 050,000 in 2017.
Major importers include the US that accounts for 29 per cent of total cashew export value, the Netherlands with 17 per cent and China with 15 per cent.
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