Twenty banks have benefited from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Commercial Agriculture Credit scheme worth N228.2bn.
The banks are : UBA, Zenith Bank, First Bank, Unity Bank, Union Bank, Sterling Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank and Skye Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, FCMB, Ecobank, CitiBank, Diamond Bank, Keystone Bank, Mainstreet Bank, Wema Bank, Enterprise Bank, and Heritage Bank.
An Official of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has confirmed that the project is CBN’s programme and not a core programme for the Ministry of Agriculture.
A total of N228.2bn has been released by the Central Bank of Nigeria to Deposit Money Banks in the country under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme for 307 projects.
The fund, according to the apex bank’s latest Economic Report for the month of February, was disbursed to 32 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Findings showed that the 32 states and Abuja benefited from the CAC scheme during the review month, with the highest and lowest sums of N223.3m or 20 per cent, and N800,000 or 0.07 per cent guaranteed to Kogi and Ebonyi States, respectively.
A senior official of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development told our correspondent that the programme was solely CBN’s and had positively impacted many stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.
The participatory DMBs, according to the report include UBA, Zenith Bank, First Bank, Unity Bank, Union Bank, Sterling Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank and Skye Bank.
Others were Guarantee Trust Bank, FCMB, Ecobank, CitiBank, Diamond Bank, Keystone Bank, Mainstreet Bank, Wema Bank, Enterprise Bank, and Heritage Bank.
CBN noted that preparations for the wet planting season commenced during the review period, while major agricultural activities in the southern states were harvesting of tree crops and clearing of land for the 2014 wet season farming.
The February report stated that in northern states, activities were dominated by irrigation of vegetable and cereal crops, adding that in the livestock sector, farmers were involved in breeding of livestock to replace stock sold during the December 2013 festivities.
It said, “A total of N1.1bn was guaranteed to 4,815 farmers under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme in the review month. This represented an increase of 4.3 and 55.7 per cent above the levels in the preceding month and the corresponding month of 2013 respectively.
“A sub-sectoral analysis of the loans guaranteed indicated that the food crop sub-sector had the largest share of N665.9m (60.4 per cent) guaranteed to 3,714 beneficiaries; the livestock sub-sector received N230.5m (20.9 per cent) for 609 beneficiaries.”
The CBN added, “Mixed crops sub-sector received N79.1m (7.2 per cent) guaranteed to 257 beneficiaries; cash crops sub-sector got N48.2m (4.4 per cent) for 92 farmers; while fisheries sub-sector received N44.9m (4.1 per cent) guaranteed to 74 beneficiaries. Others’ share was N33.2m (three per cent) for 69 beneficiaries.
“At end-February 2014, the total amount released by the CBN under the CACS to the participating banks for disbursement stood at N228.2bn for 307 projects/promoters.”
Asked if the Federal Government was monitoring the projects, the FMARD official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was the CBN that should monitor the scheme.
The official said, “It is a Central Bank programme and they are the ones who should monitor it. They know the parameters considered when they were giving out the money and it is those parameters that will be used for monitoring the projects.”
The source emphasised that it was solely CBN’s programme and not a core programme for the Ministry of Agriculture.