During the ongoing 28th Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in Owerri on Tuesday, the CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr Edward Adamu represented by the Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor said there had been reductions in Nigeria’s annual imports bill as well as an increase in non-oil exports.
“Our Development Finance interventions have helped to bolster agricultural production by removing obstacles faced by small holder farmers.
“We have also improved access to markets for farmers by facilitating greater partnership with agro-processors and industrial firms in the sourcing of raw materials.
“So far, the programme has supported more than 1.5 million farmers across all the 36 States of the country in cultivating 16 different commodities on over 1.4 million hectares of farmland.
“It has also supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain ” he said.
Adamu charged the media to play a critical role in conveying deeper understanding of the bank’s commitment to economic growth and development.
He said for instance, it was the bank’s game changing intervention in the rice value chain in Kebbi and other rice-producing states across the country that increased local production from 2.5 million tonnes in 2015 to 5.8 million tonnes in 2017.
The deputy governor said that the bank was also supporting cotton intervention with the inauguration of input distribution to 150,000 cotton farmers, cultivating 150,000 hectares in 23 states of the federation.
He said that currently, the cotton planted by these farmers had started yielding fruits, while some were ready for harvest and off-take.