The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has tasked state governments in Nigeria to take advantage of opportunities in their respective states to boost the agricultural sector in Nigeria.

He gave the charge in Emure-Ile, Ondo State, on Friday shortly before he and the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, performed the ceremony of Greenfield Integrated Poultry and Powderized Egg Facility.

Mr. Emefiele also pledged the Central Bank’s support to any state government committed to agriculture.

Speaking on “Engendering the Growth of Nigeria’s Poultry Industry”, Mr. Emefiele emphasised the need for interested state governments to take advantage of the many opportunities to develop the agricultural sector in their states in order to provide jobs, reduce the level of unemployment in the country and drive growth.

According to him, through such moves, the Nigerian economy would receive massive boost through the non-importation of agricultural produce, which he stressed Nigeria had no business importing.

While reiterating the charge of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to Nigerians to “produce what we eat and eat what we produce”, Mr. Emefiele emphasised that the attention focused on agriculture was a good strategy.

“Agriculture can still be used as a catalyst for creating jobs, reducing unemployment and driving growth in Nigeria,” he noted, even as he recalled that the ban on the importation of chickens in 2003, with the exception of day old chickens, boosted the poultry industry in Nigeria.

With the commencement of the Greenfield Integrated Poultry Facility, Mr. Emefiele expressed optimism that the implementation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in the state would be tremendously expanded.

He also disclosed that a cumulative sum of N55.526 billion had been disbursed to over 250,000 farmers who cultivated almost 300,000 hectares of farmland for rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soybeans, cassava, etc. since commencement of the programme in November 2015, noting that the implementation in partnership with state governments and several private sector groups, had contributed to the creation of an estimated 890,000 direct and 2.6 million indirect jobs.

Mr. Emefiele reiterated the commitment of the CBN to work with State Governments in supporting small holder farmers and processors across other items that can be produced in the respective States. According to him, the move was directly in harmony with the Bank’s resolve and vision to create a professional and people-centred Central Bank that will act as a financial catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth.

In his remarks, the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Akeredolu, urged all states to support ranching as a way of boosting the quality of meat produced in Nigeria.

He also emphasised the need for other state governments to key into agriculture as a way of boosting and diversifying the Nigerian economy.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Greenfield Assets Limited, Paul Obanua, thanked Mr. Emefiele and Mr. Akeredolu for supporting the project, which he said was the largest in Africa and the Middle East.

The highpoint of the ceremony was the cutting of the tape and unveiling of the plaque to formally flag-off the construction of the Greenfield Egg Pasteurization and Powderization Facility with the capacity of producing 10 million broilers per annum farm with 4,000 birds per hour meat processing plant; a 600,000 layers farm for the production 100 million eggs per annum; two 20 tons per hour feed-mill and a 500,000 eggs per day egg powder plant.

The plant would create about 25,000 jobs, earn the country over $1 billion in foreign exchange savings and boost increased incomes for poultry farmers in Nigeria.

The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with a capital requirement of N28 billion (N 28,369,276,360) to be invested in capital equipment and working capital, involves Big Dutchman International providing technical and operational management of the project.

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