An appraisal of Yobe state agricultural credit scheme

Yobe, an agricultural state, is up and doing in its drive towards repositioning the state and its citizens in the area of agriculture. To that extent, the state agricultural credit scheme comes under focus as YUSUF A YUSUF reports.

Yobe state marks yet another important day in the history of the present administration by stimulating the post-insurgency recovery and socio-economic development of the state.

Recently the state government marked the ceremony for the award of Best Financial Institution under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) to the Yobe State Micro-Finance Bank, as the Best Financial Institution in the state, by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The fund is to provide a guarantee in respect of loans granted to farmers by lending banks for increased agricultural productivity with the aim of increasing the level of bank credit to the agricultural sector.

The loan under the amended act includes advances, overdraft and any credit facility.
The Yobe Microfinance Bank has in this regard excelled in providing financial services to the farmers in the state. This is just as agriculture remains the mainstay of the major preoccupation of the state through the provision of food, employment and income for the people.

What the state gov’t did

In an attempt to accelerate socio-economic growth and development of the people of the state, the state government accorded the agricultural sector a top-most priority in the implementation of its policies and programme.

In this respect, it also constituted the Steering Committee on the Revitalisation of Agriculture under the chairmanship of the renowned agriculturist, Dr Mairo A. Amshi MFR, the Honourable commissioner for agriculture and natural resources in the state.

The committee has continued to work tirelessly in the execution of its mandate. As part of its interim achievements, the committee collaborated with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation leading to the production of a document titled ‘Yobe State Strategic Plan for Revitalising Agriculture 2021 – 2025’ and also collaborated with other relevant federal government organisations and donor agencies to fulfil the necessary criteria for the state participation in various federal, African Union and World Bank-supported programmes for speedy agricultural development.

In this regard, the construction work at the Jakusko-Nazari Livestock Development Centre in Jakusko local government area (LGA) has reached advanced stage while work is to commence in the Gurjaje and Bade-Gana of Fika and Bursari local government areas, respectively.

Yobe state’ focus on the agricultural sector is to concentrate on exploring avenues that would promote the much-needed food security, employment, income generation and self-reliance to the teeming populace. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would indeed remain a reliable partner in the pursuance of these goals.

Gov Buni applauds CBN

At the recent occasion of award to the best performing financial institutions under the agricultural credit grantee scheme fund for Yobe Micro Finance Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the launch of Social Group Insurance Financing, Gov Mai Mala Buni took advantage of the opportunity and appreciated the Central Bank of Nigeria for collaborating with the Yobe Microfinance Bank in providing loan facilities to small-holder farmers of which, according to the governor, the scheme has undoubtedly impacted positively on the lives of many households in the state.
Mai Mal Buni also commended the Yobe Microfinance Bank for mobilising and making loans accessible to farmers and ensuring that conditions of the loan repayment were strictly adhered to by the beneficiaries.

“The selection of the Yobe Microfinance Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria as the best performing financial institution under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund in the state is a matter of pride for the present administration as we are making concerted efforts to turn the fortunes of our people around in our current multifaceted drive of post-insurgency recovery.

“It is an additional matter of delight for us to note that as part of this historic event, there are also the CBN Best Farmer Award, Yobe Microfinance Customer Awards to the three best performing farmers in terms of complying with the guidelines of the fund. We are also gathered here to witness the launch of a new banking product titled, ‘Social Group Insurance Financing’, a European Union-assisted programme to be provided by three international non-governmental organisations namely, Building Resilience in Complex Crisis (BRICC), the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI) in collaboration with relevant Yobe state organisations with the Yobe Microfinance Bank inclusive.

“I believe that the new programme would further facilitate crisis recovery and stimulate increase in our aggregate agricultural productivity in the state and I also commend the CBN, BRICC, DRC and COOPI for these two initiatives and all their interventions in our ongoing post-insurgency recovery drives,” said the governor.

Award, indication of hard work

In an interview with the managing director/CEO, Yobe Microfinance Bank Limited, Dr Sheriff Muhammad Ibrahim, he said the award by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has confirmed that Yobe Microfinance Bank Limited has emerged as the best participating bank in Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) in Yobe state year 2021. Also of note is the fact that three women customers of the bank were also qualified for the Three Best Positions of Farmers’ Award.

Dr Sheriff noted that the bank targeted about 1,250 beneficiaries from 7,500 market women and young men trained by international organisations, adding that the programme is aimed at empowering vulnerable households in the state.
He revealed that Yobe Microfinance Bank would partner with different organisations that would bring development to the people of Yobe state as another project with Mercy Corps, he noted, is coming up soon.