The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Monday, revealed that it disbursed N539.8m loans to farmers between January and March this year.
This was contained in the Apex bank third quarter economic report on ‘Agricultural credit guarantee scheme’.
“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,” the report read partly.
According to sub-sectorial analysis of the report, food crops obtained the largest share of the total, with N291.6m (54.0 per cent) guaranteed to 1,958 beneficiaries; followed by the livestock, N115.2m (21.3 per cent) guaranteed to 430 beneficiaries, while Cash crops had N64.9m (12 per cent) guaranteed to 335 beneficiaries; 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.
State analysis revealed that 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 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.
It was also disclosed that during the quarter, the African Development Bank (AfDB), collaborated with the Federal Government, to sign a $500m memorandum initiative to develop four special agro-industrial processing zones in the country.
“Following the outbreak of COVID-19, which led to lockdown in major cities around the globe, the Nigerian agricultural sector in Q1 2020, witnessed a huge demand uptick arising from panic buying, mostly for essential commodities. The panic buying was fueled by the speculations of economic slow-down,” the report said.