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To strengthen farmers on their role in enhancing food security and zero hunger, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abeokuta branch, said that no fewer than 1779 farmers in Ogun State benefitted from its 723 million agricultural loans in 2021.
This disbursement is part of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) established by Decree No. 20 of 1977 to guarantee credit facilities extended to farmers by banks.
The CBN, Abeokuta Branch Controller, Wahab Oseni disclosed this on Wednesday at the Ogun State Award for Best Farmer of the Year, 2021.
Oseni said the loan is targeted at increasing access to funds in the agricultural sector adding that beneficiaries get back 50% of the interest if they meet up with terms of the loan.
“The purpose of the fund is to provide guarantee in respect to loans granted by lending banks up to the tune of 75% net of amount realized on collateral in case of default for agricultural purposes. This is aimed at increasing the level of bank credit to the agricultural sector. The scheme through the interest drawback Programme also rewards beneficiaries by giving back 50% of interest paid on loan if fully repaid within the stipulated period.
“The role of farmers in enhancing food security and zero hunger is very pivotal in every Nation and for this; we say a very big thank you to our farmers
“In 2021, the Development Finance Office, Central Bank of Nigeria Abeokuta guaranteed One Thousand, Seven Hundred and seventy-Nine (1779) loans valued at Seven Hundred and Twenty-Three Million, One Hundred and One Thousand (N723,111,000.00) from three (3) banks, comprising of two micro finance banks and one deposit money bank.
“I wish to state that the winners of today’s award went through a selection committee using some criteria which included adoption of best agricultural practices, record keeping, utilization and timely repayment of loan among others.”
CBN in collaboration with the ACGSF board rewarded three farmers out of the 1500 for prompt loan repayment, good record keeping, harnessing the value chain of the product line and increased productivity.
Saka Dolapo emerged best farmer of the year 2021 in Ogun State while Onasanya Babatunde and Abosede Olowonisoro emerged first and second runners up respectively.
In her address, the Ogun CBN Development Finance Officer, Dr. Oluwakemi Olukoya, while congratulating the awardees said food security is everybody’s responsibility.
“Congratulations to you on the awards, it is beyond the investment you have made with the money, it also portrays you as good custodians. What we are giving you may not be much but it is our token of appreciation.
“all of us must be involved in food security, let us do something on our part, plant vegetables, if you don’t have land to farm, make use of sacks. Let us all go back to farm. We need to take responsibility now, there was a time when irrigation was very cheap, we disregarded it, now it is expensive in a time when global warming is affecting us. The action we don’t take now may affect us later.”
Speaking further the director said the State was unable to submit names of farmers for national award.
She however added that CBN in the state is bringing other Deposit Money Banks on board to ensure farmers have access to more loans.
“Our loan access in the state is not more than one million naira. To qualify for the national award, you must have accessed up to three million naira loan. We are reaching out to other banks to partner so that by next year the state will nominate people for the national award”, Olukoya added.
Last year under the same scheme, N500m was disbursed to 1500 farmers in the State with each farmer getting as low as N250,000 while others accessed up to N1m loan.