The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said a total of 31,666 loans valued at N5.92 billion were guaranteed under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF).
Speaking at the ACGSF Farmers Awards ceremony held at the CBN office in Lagos, the Branch Controller, Mr. Koyor Baribokola said the CBN also awarded the top three farmers who utilised their funds suitably as well as the best performing financial institution in supporting small-scale farmers.
Represented by the Assistant Director, Lagos Branch, Mr. Nnaemeka Ukanyirioha added that despite the challenging times the country has faced in recent times, it has continued to ensure facilitating access to finance for operators in the agricultural sector.
He said: “A total of 31,666 loans valued at N5.92 billion in 2021. The CBN through the Development Finance Department continues to design and implement measures to improve food security by facilitating access to finance to the agricultural sector, we are confident that farmers will continue to grow and scale their businesses over time.”
He explained that the award was to reward participants under the scheme who have shown exceptional promise and dedication to growing our agricultural sector despite the numerous challenges faced.
“The previous year was particularly difficult with businesses trying to recover from the after-effects of a global pandemic. This further underscored the importance of a nation’s ability to feed itself. It is evidence that our commitment in rebuilding our agricultural might as a nation is crucial not only for our subsistence but also our economic relevance on a global scale, “he said.
Three farmers had emerged as winners in the award. A poultry farmer, Tolulope Ogunimo won the first prize, while Chima Elijah, a fish and ugwu farmer, and Mrs. Joy Njoku a snail and pig farmer won the second and third prizes. LAPO Microfinance Bank also won the best participating financial institution.
Responding to the award, Ogunnimo who won the second prize in 2021, appreciated the efforts of the CBN in growing the capacity of operators in the agricultural sector through access to finance.
He however urged the apex bank to increase the amount that can be accessed under the scheme saying inflation had eroded the value of the amount that they are currently able to access.
Meanwhile, representative of the Lagos state government Agric Business Department, Mr Olushina Shobande, noted that the CBN Development Finance Department, have continuously partnered with the state in its struggle to “ensure that we close the gap between the production local production and the consumption in Lagos state.
“Lagos State is limited by land mass. So it is virtually impossible for us to produce everything that we eat in Lagos state. So we are currently on 20 per cent of our total consumption.
“We are striving by implementing agricultural roadmap within the year 2021 and 2025 to ensure that we are up to 40 per cent while we ensuring that we give our farmers and other stakeholders the needed input at subsidised rates, through our employment programme.”