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Delta investment summit highlights opportunities in agric

Entrepreneurs can tap into the numerous opportunities in the agricultural sector to create wealth and earn foreign exchange, experts say.

The expert who spoke at the just concluded Delta Agribusiness Finance and Investment summit held in Asaba urged investors to take advantage of agricultural opportunities in Delta State to establish businesses that will promote the commercialisation of the sector in the country.

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Adam Saffer, chief of party and managing director of Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, said agriculture has a big potential to contribute significantly to the state’s growth and development, but the sector remains rooted in subsistence farming.

Saffer said investors will help to make sure Delta‘s agricultural products and processes are up to international standards.

He stated that the team from the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity was in Delta State to brainstorm on opportunities and solutions to challenges in the agribusiness sector.

According to him, the five-year programme aims to strengthen Nigeria’s business-enabling environment to encourage investment in the agriculture sector.

Saffer, said the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) is the prime implementer of the agribusiness investment activity which is funded by the USAID.

“Activity is pursuing a unique, robust business-centered strategy to increase the depth, breadth, dynamism, and competitiveness of Nigeria’s agribusiness sector in line with the US and Nigerian governments’ commitment to growing the non-oil-based economy,” Saffer said in a statement.

He said the Activity is designed to create an improved environment by working toward four inter-related objectives of mitigating obstructive policies to make it easier to do business in Nigeria’s agricultural sector; broadening access to finance; promoting investment opportunities in agriculture, and strengthening the capacity of agribusiness to expand and scale up operations.

“As an integral part of these efforts to create an improved enabling environment, the activity works to establish new linkages among a full range of public and private sector partners including agribusinesses, financial institutions, investment groups, and business development service providers,” he said.

“As the project cultivates more robust business conditions, Nigeria’s rural entrepreneurs and MSMEs will gain improved access to the business and financial services they need to grow and to become more efficient, competitive and profitable – benefiting the entire Nigerian economy,” he added.

Liz Oluwadare, coordinator, Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, who was excited at the large turnout of stakeholders to the event stated that the activity will foster further development of the non-oil sector.

The summit, which drew participants from different sectors including financial institutions, was also designed to strengthen the capacity of agribusiness to expand operations.

The Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity aims to strengthen the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment with a focus on the following five key value chains: rice, cowpea, soybeans, maize, and aquaculture.

It is a $15.7million five years intervention programme that seeks to sustainably link thousands of MSMEs and producer organizations with high-performing commercial actors in the following seven target states: Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Delta, Ebonyi, and Cross River.

Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor, has applauded the United States Government for its numerous intervention projects through the USAID Nigeria ‘Feed the Future programme.

Okowa who gave the commendation during the summit said that the state was happy and proud to be among the benefiting states of the interventions.

The governor, represented by Julius Egbedi, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, said that the projects had enhanced the capacity of the state’s human resources for effective contribution to the development of its economy.

“We appreciate the US Government for showing considerable magnanimity in various intervention projects,”Egbedi said.

Josephine Okojie

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