The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), marked the successful conclusion of the five-year “Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment activity” on October 10.
This $15.7 million Agribusiness Investment initiative provided support to over 18,000 small businesses, also referred to as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), across seven states in Nigeria: Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Niger. The program was instrumental in mobilising more than 188 billion Naira (equivalent to $244 million) in agricultural investments, thereby granting these businesses access to finance and strengthening their operations. As a result, these MSMEs are now better equipped to expand their activities, particularly in the production of aquaculture, cowpea, maize, rice, and soybean.
Agriculture plays a significant role in Nigeria’s economy, employing 35 percent of the country’s workforce. The potential for economic growth in Nigerian agriculture is substantial, provided that challenges such as the high cost of doing business, limited access to finance and investment, and regulatory barriers can be effectively addressed.
USAID, in collaboration with federal and state ministries of agriculture and food security, as well as private sector partners, has been actively supporting agriculture and food security programs aimed at increasing agricultural productivity, expanding markets, enhancing nutrition, and facilitating access to finance. These efforts aim to address the aforementioned challenges.
During the closeout event, attended by over 150 individuals, including the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, as well as USAID officials and public and private-sector partners, Michelle Corzine, Director of the USAID/Nigeria Economic Growth and Environment Office, emphasised the significant improvements witnessed in the agricultural sector. She underscored the importance of continued collaboration between public and private-sector stakeholders to further enhance the business environment for Nigerian farmers.