The Central Bank Governor ,Mr Godwin Emefiele has expressed his readiness to provide a wide range of agricultural opportunities for the country by assisting State Governments not only in the areas of Rice and Cassava production but most importantly in the development of livestock and diary business.
The Apex Bank Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele gave the assurance in an interview shortly after a closed door meeting with the Governor of Niger State Abubakar Sani Bello in Abuja.
The CBN Governor explained that, under the livestock and diary development programme, the apex bank was looking at the possibility of discouraging importation and encouraging the production of milk from different parts of the country beginning with Niger state.
“We intend, hopefully, to get Mr. President to come in to launch the first Grazing Reserve that’s going to be resuscitated under the programme that we are putting in place”.
He said funding would be provided by the CBN to the private sector entities added that they would be expected to recover their money from the milk that would be sourced from the livestock.
“The private sector will work directly with the CBN and the state. They will invest by providing the Pastures, Seedlings and the infrastructure that will also guarantee constant supply of water to enhance the production of quality milk”.
Also speaking, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State expressed optimism in the ability of the CBN to facilitate the take off of such massive project in the state adding that the Apex Bank has initiated different programmes to promote agriculture in the country.
The Governor affirmed that there was no going back on development of grazing reserves in the state because it remain the best solution to curtail the Herders/Farmers conflict and also develop one of our areas of comparative economic advantage.
“We will develop our grazing reserves where we can keep the Herders and provide the infrastructure so that they can get better yield with regards to milk and beef”.Sani Bello stated.
Governor Sani Bello confirmed that the state government will, in the next three months, flag off its over thirty ,thousand hectares grazing reserve in Bobi ,Mariga Local Government Area of the State added that government was also in the process of gazetting seven other grazing reserves in parts of the State.
” We have about 20 grazing reserves in the state, only two (Bobi and Girin) have been gazetted but hopefully, overtime, we’ll develop others”.he said.
He stated that developing the grazing reserves also provided opportunity to the private sector to invest and put in daily services in the diary and beef production assured that, shortly, the state will start showcasing that the project is economically viable and can also address conflicts between herders and farmers.
“I think, in the long run we are on the right track and we are getting all the necessary support from the CBN. Hopefully, within the shortest possible time, we’ll see some result”.the Governor added.
In her contribution, the Deputy Governor of CBN, Aisha Ahmad Ndanusa explained that the initiative would create job opportunities for entrepreneurs at different levels and encourage economic empowerment, particularly for the women and youth.