Nigeria is ranked 146 among the 190 economies considered in the ease of doing business rating by the World Bank. The country’s agricultural sector provides opportunities for 70 percent of its labor force, making it one of the most important in the nation. However, the Agri sector is faced with many challenges, chief of which is the lack of adequate infrastructure.
On the sidelines of the launch of the Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, revealed his country’s intentions to bolster agriculture in Nigeria.
Under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), America will be facilitating USD 300 Mn in investments for the country. The funding will be done across five crops in seven states in Nigeria, in the trail of the ‘U.S’s Feed the Future Program.
The United States, who has invested more than NGN 59 Bn to ease ‘Nigeria’s food crisis, hopes to through this initiative nurture a business-enabling environment for agriculture in the West African country.
According to Symington, the investment will reduce the cost of doing business and work with Nigerians to improve the ease of doing business in the agri-sector. He added that the activity would increase the number of financial institutions with growing agribusinesses and finance portfolios in focused value chains.
Concerned documents obtainable from USAID reveal that the program will reach no less than 5,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while expanding opportunities for agribusiness borrowers and lenders. The document also points out that the funding will go a long way in strengthening the investment readiness of agribusinesses in Nigeria and improve credit.
Targeting maize, rice, soybeans, cowpeas, and aquaculture value chains, the just-launched Agribusiness Investment Activity will be implemented via the cultivation of new frontier in Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Benue, Delta, Ebony and Cross River States.
With a five-year USD 15.7 Mn commitment attached, the program will liaise with a range of agribusiness stakeholders and counterparts, including Nigeria government ministries and agencies.
The Feed the Future activity intends to facilitate the growth of existing private sector agribusiness and work with other selected agribusiness, including suppliers, financiers, investors, service providers.
“This will mitigate the risks of lending institutions. It will promote investment opportunities for Agribusiness to expand and scale up their operations,” the envoy said.
Featured Image: BizWatchNigeria