The governor ofÂ Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has said that out of the about N200 billion earmarked to be disbursed as agricultural loans to farmers in the country, only N60b have been utilized two years after.
In the last quartre of last year, the CBN had created N200 billion Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CAC), in collaboration with the Federal Government. Despite the increase in the number of participating banks from two to five, many of the target beneficiaries could not access the fund for various reasons including bureaucracy and their inability to meet the conditions ofÂ theÂ individual banks.
Sanusi said, agriculture was 42 per cent ofÂ GDP ofÂ the country and if the sector had just 20 per cent increase in the GDP, it would have improved the countryâ€™s GDP considerably higher than at any point in the last 10 years.
Speaking at the third edition of the annual Partnership on Trade, Industry and Commerce (POTICO III) organised by the US Embassy in Nigeria, First Bank Plc and Bank of Industry and facilitated by Rimsom Associates, the CBN governor declared that elsewhere on the continent, agriculture was a top priority unlike in Nigeria.
He said that for there to be a sustainable development, there must be focus on the value chain that agriculture creates and he gave example ofÂ the Zimbabwean farmers brought by the Kwara State, a starch making firm in a South-eastern state and a dairy firm in Lagos rely on the products of the Zimbabwean farmers to run their industries.
He said this kind of value chain is what provides finance. â€œA bank like First Bank, UBA or any bank would easily lend money to a farmer who has a target market in a multinational corporation that has guaranteed his products. That increases the demand for cattle, it increases the demand for animal feed and all along that value chain, it creates jobs and incomes.â€