As part of the United States’ contribution to Nigeria’s quest for food security, the US is set to invest $15.7m in Nigeria’s agribusiness space via its Investment Activity.
The intervention, under the aegis of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-launched ‘Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity’, will span through a period of 5 years.
With Ebonyi as the crux in the South-East zone, other targeted states include; Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Cross River and Delta States.
According to the Activity’s Chief of Party and Managing Director, Dr Adam Saffer, the aim of the programme is to link several Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, as well as producers with top-grossing commercial stakeholders, in seven states.
Revealing the objectives of improving the strata of agricultural investments, and addressing the constraints on agriculture in the country, he said that USAID is keen on improving five key agricultural value chains, namely: rice, cowpea, soy, maize and aquaculture.
“In line with the U.S and Nigerian governments’ commitment to growing the non-oil based economy, this activity is pursuing a unique, robust business-centred strategy to increase the depth, breadth, 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 finance and promote investment opportunities in agriculture, and strengthen the capacity of agribusiness to expand and scale up operations.” He said.
On his part, the Ebonyi State Governor, who was represented by Secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Dr Kenneth Ugbala expressed optimism, as he revealed that the USAID activity corresponds with the state’s vision of getting everyone committed to a cause.
“Even for us in the government sector, it is a near capital offence to not have a farm and that is why the Governor directed that even the civil servants should go to the farm and they call major address because politics is gradually taking our minds from our mainstay. Our mainstay is agriculture and unfortunately, politics is becoming less lucrative,” he explained.