BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – It is smiles all the way for Nigerian farmers following disclosure by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that a total of N610.4 billion has so far been released to banks under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) to boost activities in the nation’s agric sector..
This cheering news is in line with Federal Government’s commitment to re-engineer and reposition agriculture as a major revenue earner for Nigeria.
Insight about the farmers’ good fortune is contained in the CBN’s economic report for the third quarter of 2019 on the CACS’ performance indicators.
According to the apex bank’s report, as at the end of September 2019, “the total amount released since inception by the CBN under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme to the participating banks for disbursement amounted to N610.4 billion for 593 projects, while total amount repaid since inception stood at N368 billion at the end of June 2019, compared with N338.4 billion.”
Part of the report also quoted the apex bank as stating that a total of N1.21 billion loan was guaranteed to 9,752 farmers under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) in the third quarter of 2019.
Though the figure represents an increase of 41.7 per cent above the level in the preceding quarter, the CBN explained that it was still 14.6 per cent lower than the figure recorded in the corresponding period of year 2018.
Furthermore, a breakdown of the sub-sector funds distribution indicated that food crops got the largest share of N595.5 million, representing about 49.0 per cent of loans guaranteed to 5,436 beneficiaries. This is distantly followed by mixed crops which received N221.8 million, representing 18.3 per cent of the facility guaranteed to 2,472 beneficiaries.
Also enjoying from the funds package are the livestock sector with N174.5 million, representing 14.4 per cent of the facility guaranteed to 690 beneficiaries, while cash crops got N106.5 million, representing 8.8 per cent guaranteed to 629 beneficiaries.
The report further indicated that not left out of the list are fisheries and other related sectors that received N84.4 million, representing 6.9 per cent and N31.5 million, representing 2.6 per cent of the funds guaranteed to 321 and 204 beneficiaries across the country