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The importance of credit in agricultural production cannot be over-emphasized. Farmers in Agatu Local Government Area despite being an agrarian society have unequal access to institutional credit facilities hence utilization varies. This study is on access and utilization of institutional credit among farmers in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State. This study was conducted using questionnaire and proportionate stratified sampling technique was adopted for questionnaire administration at the ward level which was used to select 399 farmers. Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was also conducted to give credence to the data gotten from the questionnaire. The data were analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics using frequency, percentages and multiple regression.Resultsshowed that majority of the farmers access credit facilities to aid them in their farming activities (73.3%), especially for those who look forward to making use of machinery and mercenaries on their farm. High interest rate and insufficient amount (44.7%) on the part of the formal institutions, sentiments and higher interest rate (54.2%) on the part of the informal institutions are some of the challenges farmers encounter in their quest to access loan for their agricultural activities.Some socioeconomic characteristics of farmers such as education, farm size, years of experience, ownership of farmland and annual farm profit positively influence access to credit with R2 = 75. Also, utilization of credit was positively influenced by socioeconomic characteristics of farmers at R2= 0.93 such as marital status, education, years of experience, income per annum and size of landholding. On the basis of the findings, the study recommends that farmers should be encouraged to go to school at least attain secondary education, as this would help them to understand the need for institutional loan and the application of such loans to their agricultural activities. Also, there is the need for the government to strengthen and sustain institutional credit schemes so that they could be readily available and accessed by more farmers in order to enhance agricultural growth in the study area.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Credit is an instrument whose effectiveness depends on the economic and financial
policies that go with it (Nwaru, 2004). The demand for credit has increased as a result of
increased economic activities in the informal sector (Tra and Lensink, 2004). Credit
availability to agriculture is justified when farmers are faced with l
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