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‘We have recovered over 90% of agric credit guaranteed loans’

By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja
01 July 2022   |   3:21 am
The board of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) says farmers' repayment of loans under the scheme has been very impressive, noting that it has so far recovered over 90 percent ..

The board of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) says farmers’ repayment of loans under the scheme has been very impressive, noting that it has so far recovered over 90 percent of the loans it guaranteed from its inception to May this year.

Chairman of the board, Mr. Stephen Okon, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, at the 2021 national farmers’ award ceremony to reward farmers and participating financial institutions who have been consistent in the repayment of their loans and for their support for the scheme.

The ACGSF was established in 1977 to guarantee agricultural credit facilities granted to farmers. The Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) both contribute to the Fund in the ratio of 60 and 40 per cent respectively. The CBN however doubles as the Managing agent of the Scheme and the secretariat.

Okon said from inception to May 2022, the scheme had guaranteed a total of 1,232,326 loans valued at N130.903 billion, out of which 973,646 beneficiaries had repaid a total of N98.91 billion.

He noted that the ACGSF scheme had proven to be relatively successful in de-risking the agricultural sector in Nigeria.

According to him, “The Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) Best Farmers of the Year Award was introduced in the 1980s to recognise selected farmers that borrowed under the scheme and repaid within a specified period while adopting best agronomic practices to achieve good yields.

“This is expected to serve as an incentive for participating in the Scheme and inculcating good repayment behaviour with a view to encouraging more participants in the Scheme.”

He said to further encourage participants in the scheme, the Board, last year, approved the increase of the Interest Drawback rebate for farmers and participants in the agricultural value chain from 40 per cent to 50 per cent to cushion the effect of the COVID – 19 pandemic. According to him, the increase took effect from January 1, 2022.

He said it is important to support farmers because achieving food security not only carries significant benefits for human health but also serves as the basis to achieve sustained economic growth.

Okon called on stakeholders, banks, state officials and other relevant agencies to continue to support the participants in the agricultural value chain through credit delivery and advisory services in order to help them develop their full potential.

Earlier in his goodwill message, the branch controller, CBN, Abuja Branch, Ogbu Onyeka Michael, while congratulating the winners said it is evident that the successes achieved under the ACGSF has led to significant improvement in Deposit Money Banks’ (DMB) lending to the agricultural sector and has led to remarkable growth in agri-business value chain in Nigeria.

According to him, “The negative impact COVID-19 pandemic and recently, the Russian-Ukraine war has rendered on the global supply chain, further underscored the importance the CBN places on Agriculture and other real sector interventions aimed at insulating the economy from such external shocks. It only leaves us to wonder and imagine what the consequences would have been on the country without the CBN initiatives.”

He said the award is an expression of the CBN Management’s commitment to supporting hard work, innovation, and productivity in the Agricultural value chain.

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