Nigerian exporters have raised the alarm that cashew nuts valued at $300 million have been trapped at the Lagos Ports and called on the federal government to come to their aid by addressing the challenges of congestion and inefficiency at Lagos’ ports, which have affected exports.
The exporters said gridlock and inefficiency at the ports of Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, delayed shipment of 50,000 tonnes of cashew nuts and is threatening this year’s output as traders are cash-strapped.
President of Nigeria Cashew Exporters Association, Tola Fasheru told Bloomberg.com that the fruits from last year’s harvest should have been exported by January; “Instead, they are still in containers on trucks waiting to enter the ports or on wharves.”
“Roads to Lagos ports are badly congested, with hundreds of lorries queuing to enter the premises and either deliver or pick goods. In addition, inadequate capacity and infrastructure, stifling red tape and corruption are hampering export processes, “Fasheru said.
“There is a palpable lack of synergy among the port operators and this is affecting the business of our members, ”he said.
Some members of the cashew association, he added, have defaulted on contracts to the extent that foreign buyers are now walking away from them.
“They are no longer willing to give us fresh contracts,” said the group’s president. The delay is likely to affect the output target of 260,000 tonnes for the current season, which started in February and will end in July.
“Not one single cashew exporter is in the field now as he is owing on contracts and as a result has no money to operate with,” said
Nigeria to partner with Brazil on Agriculture
The Federal Government has entered into $1.1 billion partnership with Brazil to implement the Nigeria-Brazil Cooperation Project Agriculture “Green Imperative,” Finance Minister Hajia Zainab Ahmed said the chunk of the facility will be provided by the Brazilian government.
According to her, the launch of the project was part of moves by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to reposition and diversify the economy in a sustainable way.
The loan, the minister said, will be provided in kind through the supply of agricultural machinery and implements in form of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts.
Hajia Ahmed said the project is designed to repay the loan facility through its proceeds, stressing that the repayment will not bring any financial burden on the taxpayers.
The minister said: “The project we are launching today will be implemented with a total loan package of $1.1 billion majorly from the Brazilian Government which will be disbursed in four tranches over a period of two years.
“It is pertinent to state here that greater percentage of the loan will be provided in kind through the supply of agricultural machinery and implements in form of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts.
“This arrangement is expected to reduce fiduciary risks and create more employment opportunities for our teeming youth and those that will be involved in assembling the machinery and implements.
“Another important benefit of the project is that its implementation will be purely private sector led in all its operations including the assembling of the machinery/ implements, operation of the service centres and the agro-processing centres.”
She also said that the project will be implemented in phases across all the 774 local government areas.
The minister called on the private sector operators, youths and women to brace for business as participants would be selected on merit.
“We will ensure that participation is devoid of politics and any form of nepotism,” she assured, explaining that the Buhari administration was not unaware of the desire of many Nigerians to obtain external loans.
Speaking of moves to diversify the economy before the Buhari government came on board, the minister said: “Even though past efforts were made to diversify the economic base of the country, the external revenue inflows remained stubbornly monolithic, i.e. mainly from oil.
Nigeria to benefit from AfDB’s $120m agric support cash
Nigeria is among African countries that would benefit from a $120 million African Development Bank (AfDB) Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project.
TAAT Coordinator, Krishan Bheenick made this known during a Capacity Development and Technology Outreach programme organised by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in partnership with the AfDB, TAAT yesterday in Abuja.
He said the seed fund which will be made available in tranches of $40, 000, is meant to support 40, 000 farmers in Africa including Nigeria’s seven major agricultural commodities listed to benefit in the intervention.
According to him, AfDB is planning to mobilise a total of $800 million to implement the project across the three years of execution.
Speaking on the importance of the train-the-trainers workshop, Bheenick said attention should not really be about the fund, but the expected impact it would make on the grassroots farmers across the value chain.
He said: “It is $120 million in total. It’s in three ways of funding of $40 million each time. The current span of the project is between 2018 and 2021, so it’s about four years for the seed money for investment. The bank itself is, first of all, expecting the countries to invest money either they get it through a grant or loan and also other donors and international agencies can join the programme.
“One other figure that has been mentioned is that across the continent, we are expected to reach 40 million farmers. In terms of the fund, we are trying to mobilise for the implementation of the project is around $800 million. But the issue is that it is not so much how much money but how effective because if we are able to convince the countries that these are worth investing in, that’s when they will invest. The communities also need to invest their own time, efforts in terms of mobilisation.”
Rice Import in record low
CBN empowers 850,000 farmers
Over 850,000 small holder farmers have been integrated into the mainstream financial system through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said.
The apex bank governor, in a speech delivered at Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) 10th year anniversary in Lagos yesterday, with the theme, “The Business Case for Financial Inclusion,” said this was in line with the central bank’s financial inclusion strategy.
Emefiele was represented at the event by the Deputy Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi.
According to him, the capital requirement for unit microfinance banks (MFBs) have been increased to N100 million, State MFBs, N1 billion and National MFBs N5 billion respectively.
This, he said was with a view to positioning them to deliver sustainable micro finance services.
“We will also reinforce our supervision and regulation of financial institutions to ensure delivery of affordable and sustainable services to Nigerians. I want to reassure you that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring a credible, reliable and effective payments system as well as a stable and sound financial system, in view of their strategic significance for financial inclusion. “We are poised as a bank to ensure that we reach the target of 20 per cent exclusion rate by 2020. This will be supported by massive agent roll out under the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility, implementation of the approved national identity management framework as well as the micro-insurance and micro-pension services, collective investment schemes and extensive collaborative programmes with government and development partners, amongst others,” he added.
He reiterated that much needed to be done, if the nation would achieve its target of 20 per cent exclusion rate by 2020.