The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rewarded two farmers in Anambra State, Miracle Onwuesi and Akam Chukwuemenam, for their outstanding performances in its Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) in 2021.
The CBN also rewarded LAPO Microfinance Bank, Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of the state for emerging as the best participating financial institution in the state during the year under review.
While Onwuesi was named the best farmer, Akam was announced as the second best farmer for the year. The former was presented with a plaque, a certificate and a cash award of N100,000 but the latter was given a certificate and N75,000 cash reward.
CBN’s Branch Controller in Awka, Mr Benedict Maduagwu, explained that the ACGSF was established by the Federal Government in 1977 as one of the key strategies to boost food production in the country.
He said that the operations of the scheme commenced in April 1978 with initial share capital and paid-up capital pegged at N100 million and N85.6 million respectively.
Maduagwu said that in 2019, the ACGSF Act was amended and new strategies introduced and that they were aimed at repackaging and repositioning the scheme for greater effectiveness and efficiency.
“In 2020, the board of the ACGSF re-introduced the ACGSF Best Farmers’ Award in the various states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to recognise outstanding farmers that participated under the scheme.
“The farmers are those that implemented the best agronomic practices, maintained good farm records and recorded good yield to pay back the loan as at when due.
“Consequently, during the 39th meeting of the board of the ACGSF held in Calabar, Cross River State, Miss Miracle Onwuesi of LAPO Microfinance Bank, Aguleri emerged the winner of the 2021 ACGSF Best Farmer of the Year”, Maduagwu said.
The branch manager of LAPO MFB in Aguleri, Thelma Amaechi, and Onwuesi, in their separate speeches, commended the CBN for the initiative, urging it not to relent in its good works in the agric sector.
Amaechi said: “I am so excited about this. I wasn’t expecting it. I know we have other microfinance banks and commercial banks out there giving better loans more than us. It’s God that did it all.”
Head of the CBN’s Development Finance Office in the branch, Mrs Bridget Okparaeke, said that the apex bank has “a catalogue of development finance interventions covering some major sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing, MSMEs, infrastructure and health.”
Okparaeke said that the objectives of the interventions were to increase lending to high-impact and employment-creating sectors of the economy and expand the output of agriculture, manufacturing and services among others.