1.1) BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In Nigeria, like any other country of the world, the agricultural sector plays a very important role in the economy. The sector provides massive employments; it generates basic raw materials to the economy, it provides food to the populace, it generates foreign exchange and largely provides security and stability in the polity.
However, the main stakeholders in the sector, that is to say the farmers are faced with many problems among them are poor pricing, high cost of fertilizers/ insecticides, low education and the most important being lack of adequate capital that would enable them tackle these problems for their benefits and for the benefit of the society generally. One way to do this is for the farmers to get a window of financial palliative. Many attempts had been put in place to make financing available to the farmers one of which was the establishment of Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank (N.A.C.B) in November 24th, 1972, which commenced operations March 6th, 1973. The Nigeria Agricultural and Cooperative Bank (N.A.C.B) has now been transformed into Nigerian Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank (N.A.C.R.D) in October 2000.
The aims and objectives of Nigerian Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank, and its predecessor, Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank seem to be the same. If that is the case what has been its impact in Agricultural financing?
1.2) STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Zaria is a renowned city with long tradition of farming. It was estimated that every family in Zaria and its environs is involved in one aspect of agricultural activity or the other, and since lack of adequate agricultural financing is certain to affect the farmers in Zaria, this explains the reason why the Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank now Nigerian Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank had to open its Branch in Zaria in the year 2002 to close this financing gap.
The researcher is aware of this fact and wants to find out what has been the impact of the Bank in Zaria. Has the bank been able to assist the Zaria farmers in closing or reducing the multiple financing problems that they face like their other counter parts all over the country? If yes, how were they able to do it? If no, why and where did they fail? What can be done to make them do it more effectively?
Lawan, 2001 p.2 opined however that agricultural financing has “not been a very successful story because of the problems of loan recovery, some view it
as their own national cake”. She further said that “sometimes it is not easy obtaining a loan from the Bank due to undue procedures by the Bankwhich…….the farmers must go through”.
THE IMPACT OF AGRICULTURAL LOAN SCHEME TOWARDS THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH