The Central Bank of Nigeria, Abeokuta branch, has said that 1,779 farmers in Ogun State have benefitted from agricultural loans in 2021.
The Abeokuta Branch Controller of the CBN, Wahab Oseni, disclosed this on Wednesday at the Ogun State Award for Best Farmer of the Year, 2021.
Oseni said the disbursement was part of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, established by Decree No. 20 of 1977 to guarantee credit facilities extended to farmers by banks.
He said the loan was targeted at increasing access to funds in the agricultural sector, adding that beneficiaries would get back 50 per cent of the interest if they met up with terms of the loan.
He said, “The purpose of the fund is to provide guarantee in respect to loans granted by lending banks up to the tune of 75 per cent net of the amount realised 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 the 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 1,779 loans valued at N723,111,000.00 from three banks, comprising two microfinance 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 the adoption of best agricultural practices, record keeping, utilisation and timely repayment of loan among others.”
He further said that the CBN in collaboration with the ACGSF board had 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.
He announced Saka Dolapo as the 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.
She said, “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 the farm. We need to take responsibility now, there was a time when irrigation was very cheap, we disregarded it, and now it is expensive in a time when global warming is affecting us. The action we don’t take now may affect us later.”