The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rewarded three farmers in Niger State with cash and a certificate for timely repayment of loans they took under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund.
Presenting the award, the Minna Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ademola Sa’eed Mohammed, said the loans were geared towards assisting farmers in boosting their agricultural activities, noting that those who repaid their loans in time had proven to be trustworthy and would be entrusted with public funds.
Mohammed said the award was initiated to allow healthy competition among farmers and Micro Finance Banks in terms of proper utilisation of loans and time repayment.
He said farmers needed resources to enable them expand their activities to provide support in addressing food insecurity.
“Farmers needs support because they perform central role in providing food for the populace. They are key in our effort to tackle food insecurity in Nigeria. Therefore, the loans were given to enable them expand their agricultural activities. These awards aim to promote healthy competition among farmers and participating banks in the disbursement of Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund,” the controller said.
Mohammed noted that the door was also opened to the rural peasant to access the loan, but they needed to form themselves into cooperatives to self-guarantee themselves as well as having a bank account.
He said the farmers were scored on 15 criteria including loan history which indicated number of times the farmer had taken the loan, loan amount, date granted, loan duration, loan utilisation, loan servicing and repayment, record keeping showing compliance with best practices, productivity, processing, marketing among others.
The ‘best farmer of the year’ was awarded to Usman Tajudeen, a fishery farmer from New Bussa, Borgu Local Government Area, who took N1m loan from Lapo Micro Finance Bank, New Bussa, and paid back as and when due.
Also rewarded 2nd and 3rd best farmers were Jiya Grace, a poultry farmer in Minna and Ndana Mohammed, a rice farmer in Bida who took N500,000 and N250,000 loans through Lapo Micro Finance Banks in Minna and Bida respectively.
In the same vein, the best participating financial institution was awarded to the Lapo Micro Finance Bank with 924 applications valued at N150,921,000.00.
The second best participating financial institution was Bawyi Microfinance Bank who submitted 443 applications valued at N34,800,000.000 while Bejin-Doko Microfinance Bank came third with 250 applications valued at N17,048,000.00 respectively.