The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has revealed that Nigeria imports over $580 million worth of cassava by-products annually.

He made the disclosure during the unveiling of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Company yesterday. The apex bank boss lauded the efforts made by the Rivers State Government in bringing the firm into fruition.

It is worthy to note that the Rivers Cassava Processing Company is designed to support improved production and processing of cassava into high quality flour in Rivers State. The State Government collaborated with Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, the Dutch Embassy Investment Nigeria Limited and other technical partners in setting up the integrated facility.

Commending the initiative, Emefiele remarked that the cassava processing facility will help to support CBN’s mandate of promoting economic growth for Nigeria. He further added that: ‘The Cassava processing facility will also provide farmers with a verifiable platform to access finance from the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions through our Anchor Borrowers Program. With the capacity to process over 45,000 tons of cassava, this facility will provide high-quality cassava flour for households, industries and bakeries.

‘’The facility will help in reducing our reliance on imports of cassava by-products, which serves as a key input in the production of food items in several factories. Nigeria imports over $580m worth of cassava by-products annually.

‘’Developmental finance initiatives at the CBN is focused on creating an enabling environment that will drive both public and private sectors participation in the real sector with strategic deliverables around price stability, job creation, financial inclusion, import substitution and accretion to foreign reserve.

’Rivers State has accessed over N13bn from our various intervention programs and their loan status remains in good standing.’’

Mr. Emefiele concluded by asserting that the CBN remains resolute in its quest of working with various state governments in supporting small-scale farmers and processors across different commodities.