The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed the sum of $15.7 million of investment into the country’s agribusiness ecosystem in its Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity.
The investment is expected to create a free bottle-neck in accessing funds by owners of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the agriculture sector and create an enabling platform for high earners in the sector.
According to Adam Saffer, chief of party and managing director, the programme is centred on agribusiness owners producing commodities such as rice, cowpea, soybean, maize and those in aquaculture; he made this known at Ebonyi State, recently.
Also, states where these commodities are predominantly produced such as Ebonyi, Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Cross River and Delta states are where the programme will be held for the next five years.
“In line with the U.S. and Nigerian governments’ commitment to growing the non-oil based economy, this activity is pursuing a unique, robust business-centred strategy to increase the depth, breadth, dynamism and competitiveness of Nigeria’s agribusiness sector.
“The activity is designed to create an improved environment by working toward four interrelated objectives: mitigate obstructive policies to make it easier to do business in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, broaden access to finance and promote investment opportunities in agriculture, and strengthen the capacity of agribusiness to expand and scale up operations,’ he said.
Kenneth Ugbala, secretary to Ebonyi State Government who represented the governor expressed confidence that USAID’s initiative which is in line with state’s agriculture policy which will enable the indigenes in the state to go into agriculture.
“Even for us in the government sector, it is a near capital offence to not have a farm and that is why the Governor directed that even the civil servants should go to the farm and they call major address because politics is gradually taking our minds from our mainstay.
Agribusiness owners in the country are currently facing hard times in the area of securing local credit facilities, which has limited their growth. Experts say agribusiness would need more funding to be able to produce optimally and take advantage of the country’s huge market.