A total of 568 agricultural projects valued at N577.3bn have been financed by the Central Bank of Nigeria under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme.
The CACS commenced in 2009 as part of the developmental role of the CBN to the economy to stimulate funding for the agricultural sector.
The fund was set up by the CBN in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture to fast-track the development of the agricultural sector of the Nigerian economy by providing credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at a single digit interest rate.
It was also aimed at enhancing national food security by increasing food supply and effecting lower agricultural produce and product prices, thereby promoting low food inflation.
Statistics obtained from the apex bank on Tuesday showed that as of the end of the third quarter of last year, the N577.3bn was disbursed for the projects through 20 Deposit Money Banks.
An analysis of the figure showed that the highest amount of N120.16bn was disbursed through Zenith Bank Plc to finance 75 agriculture projects.
This is followed by United Bank of Africa Plc with N81.06bn for 50 projects, while Sterling Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, and Union Bank Nigeria Plc had N72.17bn, N42.89bn and N28.91bn for 42, 99 and 39 agricultural projects, respectively.
Similarly, the sum of N25.18bn was channelled through Unity Bank for 27 projects; Stanbic IBTC, N27.66bn for 45 projects; Access Bank, N36.66bn for 26 projects; Fidelity Bank, N21.67bn for 17 projects, and First City Monument Bank, N15.53bn for 26 projects.
In the same vein, the sum of N39.85bn was disbursed for 29 projects through Guaranty Trust Bank, while Heritage Bank, CitiBank, Wema Bank had N6.82bn, N3bn and N2.89bn for 14, two and 13 projects, respectively.
The Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had said the bank would continue to provide incentives for lending to agriculture and other sectors in view of their importance to job creation and poverty reduction.
He said, “In Nigeria, the challenges of youth unemployment and restiveness must be confronted with strategic innovative thinking to provide a sustainable solution.
“No matter how daunting the challenge may seem, I believe that with the unity of purpose, we can ﬁght this scourge together.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that one of the most effective ways to tackle this scourge, is through entrepreneurship development and easy access to affordable ﬁnancing. Yet, access to ﬁnance has been an Achilles heel on entrepreneurship development in the country today.”
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