The New CBN’s Agro-Processing Funding

It is no longer news that the CBN has approved a bold initiative to partner with the 11 SE/SS governors to develop combined 100,000 hectares of palm plantations and to drive the back-ward integration programs that will help Nigeria close the over 1.5million metric tons local CPO production deficit/gap.

Under this new arrangement, the CBN will provide single-digit funding for large scale and smallholder cooperative farm groups with single-digit financing, across the value chains in CPOs, Cassava, Sesame, Maize, Groundnut, etc.

The CBN has also created funding frameworks to support the growth of the other sectors, like Textile and Garments etc.

Outside this limited funding initiatives from the CBN, there are other bigger global funding sources like the AFDB $24billion funds, USADF, GAINS, UNCTT, FOUNDATIONS etc. Some of these funding agencies also provide technical and capacity-building support. Their core objective is to help reduce the prevalent poverty rate in Africa by half within the next 20 years.

Though, the CBN/ Godwin Emefile may have put together a great partnership funding initiatives to grow the real sector, based on our strident advocacy and interventions, however, we have our strong reservations about the capacity, sincerity, commitment and passion of the Deposit Money Banks and the public sector groups at the sub-national levels (36 states in Nigeria) to cover their own part of the bargain without stalling it. A majority of these commercial banks are part of the bigger problems we have today in Nigeria in promoting sustainable entrepreneurship and growing the MSMEs.

Also, the fiscal elements and most of the public sector agents at the sub-national levels (36 states in Nigeria) are devoid of the required visions, passionate creativity, long-term focus and altruism to support/run at the pace of the Private sector partners.

OUR FOCUS THIS SEASON, IS ON HOW WE CAN SUSTAINABLY DEVELOP THE SOUTH EAST OF NIGERIA AND PROVIDE EXECUTABLE SOLUTIONS ON THE WAY FORWARD TO HARNESS THE IMMENSE BENEFITS OF THIS GREAT FUNDING INITIATIVE AND OTHER GLOBAL TECHNICAL AND FUNDING INTERVENTIONS TO HELP GROW OUR ECONOMIES.

In collaboration/ partnership with some of the best in class astute domestic/international technical and funding groups, we are already partnering with the Abia state government to develop world-class Agro-Industrial Parks in Abia state ( http://www.agrocity.ng and www.sefapcol.com).

We have already developed time-lined comprehensive and executable template/frameworks (that covers, technical, financial, structural, organisational, executions etc. to create and develop over 100,000 hectares farm gates in the south-east and establish over 1000 agro-processing cottage factories in the region, (200 units cottage factories in Imo state alone ).

The incoming Emeka Ihedioha Government must set up a professionally staffed and administered Imo State Investment Promotion and Development Corporation (IMIPDC) to drive the whole process and coordinate inter-ministerial and agencies collaborations that will help the new government to create immediate 60,000-100,000 agro-based jobs in Imo state over the next 18 months under a transparently implemented MPPP framework.

Thousands of digital, productive and sustainable youth agro-entrepreneur millionaires can be created in Imo state over the next 4 years.

However, to make this work and work well, sustainable, people-centric and investor-friendly, short-medium-long term policies, programs, and interventions must be designed, structured and put in place to drive the whole process.

Imo state is blessed. Imo state is divinely and naturally situated to drive the process and lead from the front in the SE/SS.

Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema axis can be translated into centres of massive Agro-tourism, akin to the Indiana Purdue.

Imo state can easily be rebuilt.

Dr Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri, FICA, MIRA

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