The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), celebrated the achievements of the five-year “Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity” on October 10.
The $15.7 million agribusiness investment activity assisted more than 18,000 small businesses, also known as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), in seven states: Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Niger. The initiative mobilized more than 188 billion Naira ($244 million) in agricultural investment, thereby providing access to finance and bolstering their businesses. The MSMEs are now able 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, and 35 percent of Nigeria’s workforce is employed in the sector. Nigerian agriculture has economic potential if the high cost of doing business, limited access to finance and investment, and high regulatory barriers can be addressed.
By supporting agriculture and food security programs 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.
“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,” USAID/Nigeria Economic Growth and Environment Office Director Michelle Corzine urged.
More than 150 people attended the closeout event, including the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, USAID officials, and public and private-sector partners.