US moves to revive SMEs with $15.7m

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United States is set to invest over $15.7m in the agricultural sector to revive it and help make the Nigeria become self sufficient.

The fund will be managed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity.

According to USAID, the 5-year $15.7million intervention programme seeks to sustainably link thousands of Micro, Small and Medium size Enterprises and producer organizations with high performing commercial actors in seven target state.

The Activity’s Chief of Party and Managing Director, Dr. Adam Saffer stated this in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state capital during stakeholders summit to launch the programme in south east zone

Dr Saffer said the programme will address the constraints that hamper overall agricultural business environment of Nigeria and improve the levels of agriculture related investments.

He explained that the Activity will focus on five key value chains; rice, cowpea, soy, maize and aquaculture.

“In line with the U.S nad Nigerian governments’ commitment to grow 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”, he said.

Flagging off the programme, Governor David Umahi who was represented by Secretary to Ebonyi state Government, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala said the 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 offence not to have a farm and that is why the Governor directed that even the civil servants should go to 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.