The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said a total of 31,666 loans worth N5.92 billion were guaranteed under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Fund (ACGSF).
Speaking at the ACGSF Farmers Awards Ceremony held at the CBN office in Lagos, the Branch Comptroller, Mr. Koyor Baribokola said that the CBN also awarded the three top farmers who used their funds appropriately as well as the most successful financial institution in small-scale support. Farmers.
Represented by the Deputy Manager of the Lagos Branch, Mr. Nnaemeka Ukanyirioha added that despite the difficult times the country has been facing lately, he has continued to facilitate access to finance for operators in the agricultural sector.
He said, “A total of 31,666 loans worth 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 financing for the agricultural sector, we are confident that farmers will continue to grow and evolve their businesses over time.
He explained that the award was intended to recognize program participants who have shown outstanding promise and dedication to developing our agricultural sector despite the many challenges faced.
“The previous year was particularly difficult, with businesses trying to recover from the aftermath of a global pandemic. This further underscored the importance of a nation’s ability to feed itself. It is proof that our commitment to rebuilding our agricultural powerhouse as a nation is crucial not only to our livelihoods but also to our economic relevance globally,” he said.
Three farmers emerged as winners of 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 award for Best Participating Financial Institution.
Responding to the award, Ogunnimo, who won the second prize in 2021, appreciated CBN’s efforts to increase the capacity of operators in the agricultural sector through access to finance.
He, however, urged the apex bank to increase the amount accessible under the scheme, saying inflation had eroded the value of the amount it is currently able to access.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Department of Agricultural Affairs, Lagos State Government, Mr. Olushina Shobande, noted that the CBN Development Finance Department has continuously partnered with the state in its fight to “to ensure that we bridge the gap between local production and consumption in Lagos State.
“Lagos State is limited by land mass. It is therefore virtually impossible for us to produce everything we eat in Lagos State. We are therefore currently on 20% of our total consumption.
“We are striving to implement an agricultural roadmap by 2021 and 2025 to ensure that we are at 40% while ensuring that we provide our farmers and other stakeholders with the necessary inputs at subsidized rates, thanks to our employment program.