The total amount disbursed to farmers under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme from inception in 2009 rose to N635.39bn as of the end of March 2020.
The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this in its “Economic report for the first quarter of 2020 on agriculture,” which was obtained on Wednesday.
The report reads, “At end-March 2020, the total amount released, since inception by the CBN under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme to the participating banks for disbursement, amounted to N635.39bn for 608 projects, while the total amount repaid since inception stood at N406.29bn at end-March 2020.”
The CBN stated that a total of N539.8m loans was guaranteed to 3,161 farmers under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme in the first quarter of 2020.
This represented a decrease of 53.9 per cent and 34.8 per cent below the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2019 respectively.
Sub-sectorial analysis showed that food crops obtained the largest share of the total with N291.6m (54 per cent) guaranteed to 1,958 beneficiaries; followed by the livestock, N115.2m (21.3 per cent) guaranteed to 430 beneficiaries; and cash crops, N64.9m (12 per cent) guaranteed to 335 beneficiaries.
It added that fisheries, mixed crops and others received N36.1m (6.7 per cent), N16.8m (3.1 per cent) and N15.3m (2.9 per cent) respectively, guaranteed to 121, 233, and 84 beneficiaries.
Analysis by state showed that 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory benefited from the scheme in the review quarter, with the highest and lowest sums of N54.8m (10.2 per cent) and N1.8m (0.3 per cent) guaranteed to Ogun and Nasarawa states respectively.
According to the report, agricultural activities in the first quarter of 2020 were predominantly preparation of land for early wet season planting, harvesting of tree crops and irrigation-fed vegetables.
In the livestock subsector, farmers continued to intensify efforts towards raising of poultry birds and cattle in preparation for the 2020 Easter festivity.
During the quarter, the African Development Bank, in collaboration with the Federal Government, signed a $500m memorandum initiative to develop four special agro-industrial processing zones in the country.
These were designed to concentrate agro-processing activities within areas of high agricultural potential to boost productivity, integrate production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.
The CBN stated that the initiative was capable of boosting the structural transformation of the economy by providing opportunities for public and private sector investments.