By Usman Shuaibu
As part of its mandate to sustainably enhance the performance of micro, small and medium size agribusinesses in Nigeria, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID), Feed The Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Niger State Government.
Speaking at the event, the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, who represented the State Governor, Hon. Abubakar Sani Bello, said that the collaboration between the USAID and Niger State Government would bring mutual understanding.
He also added that the partnership could provide some ailing agro allied industries in the state.
“These investments were made a long time ago but we still believe that the areas are critical to the state and we would like to see how we can move forward with them”, the secretary noted.
The Niger State Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Haliru Zakari Jikantoro who signed the MOU on behalf of the Niger State Government, expressed the commitment of the State Government through his Ministry to ensure that the partnership yielded positive results.
In his remarks, the Chief of Party of the Activity, Dr. Adam Saffer, revealed that “the Activity was designed to create an improved environment by working towards four interrelated objectives: mitigate obstructive policies to make it easier to do business in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, broaden access to finance, promote investment opportunities in agriculture, and strengthen the capacity of agribusinesses to expand and scale up operations.”
He further added: “As the Activity cultivated more robust business conditions, Nigeria’s rural entrepreneurs and MSMEs would gain improved access to the business and financial services they require to become more efficient, competitive, and profitable.”
The Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity is a 5-year, $15.7million intervention addresses constraints that hamper the overall agricultural business environment of Nigeria to improve the level of agriculture-related finance and investment, with a focus on the following five key value chains such as rice, cowpea, soy, maize and aquaculture. It works with large as well as SME producers, aggregators, agro-dealers, processors, industry associations, and cooperatives in the following seven target states which included Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Delta, Ebonyi and Cross River.