By Zubairu Idris
Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allocate more funds to farmers in order to enhance agricultural productivity in the country.
Masari said this at the State Award Ceremony for the Best Farmer of the Year, 2020, organised under the auspices of the Board of Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS), in Katsina.
“We appreciate what you have done, but it is not enough, if you look at other sectors of the economy, what comes to the agricultural sector is not enough.
“You should ensure that farmers get more funds and have easier access to such facilities, particularly those in the rural areas. By doing so, the support will reach more farmers, that will assist in increasing agricultural productivity,” he said.
He pointed out that over seven million of the population of the state were farmers, hence the need for the CBN to ensure more farmers get access to such finance.
“Katsina state alone, if its agricultural potentials are properly harnessed, it can depend on agriculture and livestock to generate its revenue,” he said.
The governor said that most commercial banks were interested in traders, oil sector and importers because they provided more returns, but noted that “profit without development will not take us where we want to go.”
The CBN Branch Controller, Alhaji Dahiru Usman, said that in 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari, raised the share capital of the ACGS from N3 billion to N50 billion.
He said that the purpose of the fund was to provide guarantees in respect of loans granted by commercial banks for agricultural purposes.
Usman said that the CBN, through the Development Finance Office in Katsina, had guaranteed loans in excess of N3.9 billion to over 45,000 farmers in the state, adding that about 80 per cent of the loans had been repaid by the farmers in the state.
In his remarks, the Secretary, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Yusuf Abubakar, commended the CBN for the loans, as well as the state government, for the support it had been giving to farmers.
He urged the farmers to reciprocate the CBN’s gesture by repaying the loans in good time.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that Alhaji Suleiman Abdulrazaq-Maigoro, won the award of N100,000, as best farmer of the year, 2020.(NAN)