More than 18,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are to benefit from a $15.7m Agribusiness Investment assistance by the U.S. government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Beneficiaries of the assistance are spread across seven states, namely Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Niger.
USAID said on Wednesday in Abuja that the initiative mobilised more than N188 billion (about $244 million) in agricultural investment, to provide the beneficiaries access to finance and bolster their businesses.
The assistance would allow the MSMEs to expand business operations for increased food production, specifically for aquaculture, cowpea, maize, rice, and soybean.
Agriculture accounts for a substantial part of Nigeria’s economy, with 35 percent of Nigeria’s workforce employed in the sector.
The Nigerian agriculture sector has huge economic potential if the high cost of doing business, limited access to finance and investment, and high regulatory barriers could be addressed.
By supporting agriculture and food security programmes in collaboration with the federal and state ministries of agriculture and food security and the private sector to increase agricultural productivity, expand markets, improve nutrition, and facilitate access to finance, USAID has partnered with Nigeria to help address these challenges.
USAID/Nigeria Economic Growth and Environment Office Director, Michelle Corzine, spoke of the initiative: “We have seen remarkable improvements in the agricultural sector, and it is essential that public and private-sector actors continue to collaborate to ensure that we continue to improve the business environment for Nigeria’s farmers.”
More than 150 people attended the closeout event, including the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, USAID officials, and public and private-sector partners.
On October 10, The U.S. government, through USAID, celebrated the achievements of the five-year “Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment activity,” on October 10. the achievements of the five-year “Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment activity.”