The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced that it is mobilizing N188 billion in private debts and equity financing to support agribusiness across seven states in Nigeria. The states are Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger.
This was revealed by the USAID/Nigeria Economics Growth & Environment Office Director, Michelle Corzine at the Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity Closeout Ceremony in Abuja.
Corzine said the Agribusiness investment activity is responsible for connecting over 18, 000 micro, small and medium agribusinesses to private investors in Nigeria.
“As a result, over 5,000 female smallholder farmers learned good agronomic practices, financial literacy, and leadership skills and supported 2,600 youth-led businesses to gain access to finance,” Corzine said.
“As we celebrate five years of significant achievements in the Agribusiness Investment activity, we urge the Nigerian government and financial sector counterparts to continue to advocate for pro-business policies in the agricultural sector such as the Investment and Security Bill 2022.
“This legislation is essential to increase access to finance for agribusinesses and smallholder farmers in Nigeria. To obtain the best results, it is essential that public and private sector actors continue to collaborate, debate, develop and monitor the implementation of policy reforms,” she added.
Commenting on this, Dr Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, the permanent secretary of Federal Ministry of Agriculture, said the agribusiness financing initiative is key to strengthening the Nigerian Agriculture sector but the policy approach and much-needed interventions remain largely inconsistent.
Umakhihe who was represented by the Director of Special Duties in the Ministry, Fausat Lawal, said food security is threatened by drought, floods and erosions in the country.
“This situation negates the realization of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security’s mandate and the overall agenda of Mr. President on food security.
“In this regard, the Ministry has keyed into digital Agriculture via the use of information technology equipment along the value chain, for enhanced agricultural development that will help improve agricultural productivity, reduce food wastage and alleviate the effect of climate change,” the Permanent Secretary said.