From Uche Usim, Abuja
In its efforts to boost food production, the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Government said it loaned out N4.32 billion to 30,267 farmers in 2020.
Chairman, Board of the ACGSF, Mr Stephen Okon, made the disclosure at the 2021 Best National Farmers Award held in Abuja on Thursday.
According to him, a cumulative guaranteed loan of N122.632 billion has been disbursed to 1,190,970 farmers since the inception of the Scheme in 1977.
He added that the Federal Government and the CBN both contribute to the fund in the ratio of 60 per cent and 40 percent, respectively with CBN serving as the Managing Agent of the scheme and secretariat of the Fund.
The Fund, Okon said, encourages Deposit Money Banks to lend to those engaged in agriculture by providing guarantees. It mitigates risks associated with banks’ lending to agriculture; by guaranteeing to pay banks 75 per cent of the net amount in default in accordance with the provisions of the enabling Act. He expressed joy that the amended ACGSF Act increased the share capital of the Fund from N3 billion to N50 billion to enable it cope with the fast-changing economic environment.
“In addition, the amended Act introduced new strategies aimed at repackaging and repositioning the Scheme for greater effectiveness and efficiency towards re-positioning Nigeria as a self – sufficient food producer, creating millions of jobs, supplying key markets across the country and dampening the effects of exchange rate movements on local prices.
“Equally, the maximum amount for loans without collateral was increased from N20,000 to N100,000 while the maximum for loans with collateral was increased from N10 million to N50 million” Okon noted.
For the awards, the first runner up, Akang Farms Ventures Limited Akwa Ibom State borrowed N5 million from New Dawn Microfinance Bank Limited. He got N750k cash prize; while the winner is Nemat Agro Services Limited, Enugu that borrowed N3,400,000 from Access Bank Plc and got a cash prize of N1 million
Lapo Microfinance Bank emerged best supporting financial institution in 2020.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN, Mr Yusuf Yila said the apex bank will always strive to keep food prices stable and guarantee food security.
He added that the Anchor Borrower’s Programme (ABP), currently finances 21 products involving 36 States.
“To expand the ABP, land clearing issue that has remained a big challenge and we’re working with the states on this.