The Central Bank of Nigeria paid out a total of N5,356,700 to farmers under the agricultural Credit Guarantee Schedule in the first quarters of this year.
About 78 farmers benefited from the credit scheme.
This was disclosed to The Republic recently by sources close to the Central Bank Agricultural Credit department. According to the sources, a breakdown of the state-by-state disbursements showed that Bendel State was granted the highest of N1,832,300 or 34.2 per cent. This amount was distributed amongst 127 farmers in the state. The source further said that the disproportionate scheme of credit to farmers in Bendel State was attributable to the fact that the bulk of their applications came under the small holder loan scheme N5,000 and below which do not require collateral security for approval.
It was further gathered that Rivers State took N1,019,500 or 19% benefitting only 2 farmers while Ogun State had N600,200 or 11 per cent benefitting 17 farmers. The remaining sum of N1,904,700 or 35.6 per cent was granted to 232 farmers in other states.
The source also said that on project by project analysis, fish attracted the highest loan of N1,563,000 or 29.2 per cent in which 5 farmers benefitted grains took N1,383,000 or 25.8 per cent, about 147 recipients while poultry shared N1,076,900 or 20.1 per cent with 25 farmers as beneficiaries.
The source also said that other projects took the balance of N1,333,800 or 24.9 per cent in which 201 farmers ranging from cattle rearers to cocoa producers.
Meanwhile, the federal ministry of agriculture has reintroduced the licensing of all cocoa buyers.
It was also learnt that the ministry has also revamp both the state and federal crop inspection services.
According to the ministry, all cocoa beans for export must now be inspected and graded twice first in its share of origin by the state government agents and again by the federal inspectorate at the point of exportation. This agreement is designed the sources said to improve the quality of cocoa, following the demise of commodity boards inspection producers.