United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity said its five-year $15.7 million intervention programme seeks to sustainably link thousands of Micro, Small and Medium-size enterprises and producer organisations with high performing commercial actors in seven target states.
The activity’s chief of party/managing director, Adam Saffer, stated this in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, at a stakeholders’ summit to launch the programme in South East zone
Saffer said the programme would address the constraints that hamper the overall agricultural business environment of Nigeria and improve the levels of agriculture-related investments.
He explained that the activity would focus on five key value chains – rice, cowpea, soy, maize, and aquaculture, saying, “In line with the US and Nigerian governments’ commitment to growing the non-oil based economy, this activity is pursuing a unique, robust business-centered strategy to increase the depth, breath, 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 fiancé and promote investment opportunities in agriculture, and strengthen the capacity of agribusiness to expand and scale up operations.”
Flagging off the programme, Governor Dave Umahi, who was represented by Secretary to Ebonyi State government, Kenneth Ugbala said USAID activity was in line with the vision of the state government in ensuring that everybody in the state was committed to something.
“Even for us in the government sector, it is a near capital offense not to have a farm and that is why the Governor directed that even the civil servants should go to a farm and they call major address because politics is gradually taking our minds from our mainstay. Our mainstay as people is agriculture and unfortunately, politics is becoming less lucrative,” he said.
The targeted states are Ebonyi, Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Delta and Cross River.
By Jacob Ogodo