CBN targets 60% reduction in wheat imports

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is working to increase local wheat production and reduce importation by 60 percent.

Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, was speaking on Thursday at the launch of the 2020 wet season harvest aggregation and dry season input distribution for the north-east region under the CBN-RIFAN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) in Gombe.

Emefiele said the apex bank is working to reduce wheat imports by 60 percent within a two-year timeframe.

He assured Nigerians that there is no reason to panic over rising food prices as there are adequate arrangements to end food scarcity in the country.

The governor said he is optimistic that prices of food, especially rice, would crash with CBN’s efforts to drive down prices using monetary policy tools and injections in the agriculture sector.

Nigeria food inflation rose to 21.79 percent in February caused by increases in the prices of bread, cereals, fish, potatoes, yam and other tubers, vegetables, meat, oils and fats, fruits and food products.

“I, therefore, say there is no reason for anybody to panic that food prices are high,” Emefiele said.

“We know they are already coming down, we will make life difficult for those who feel that they want to hoard commodities because they want to take advantage of scarcities.

“We will be cultivating almost one million hectares during the dry season luckily the dry season has brought up two seasons for rice, so we will not have rice scarcity again.

“For those who think they can continue to smuggle rice into the country, we are sending a warning signal to you that you should desist from smuggling.”

At the event, Emefiele unveiled 13 rice pyramids built using 200,000 bags of 50kg bags of locally produced rice under the anchor borrowers programme in Gombe.