From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
The USAID funded Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity has commenced its summit on Agribusiness Finance and Investment in Niger State aimed at repositioning and unlocking the challenges confronting agricultural development in the state for years.
The Activity’s Chief of Party and Managing Durector, Dr Adam P. Saffer made the disclosure yesterday in Minna at the opening ceremony, saying that the summit will provided opportunity to create more conducive enabling atmosphere for agribusiness investment of the state.
Saffer who was represented by Deputy Chief of Party, Faruk Karuwa added that this will bridged the financial gap in agribusiness loan and investments as well as creating commercially viable business linkages between the processors and producers hence the need for collectively address and implement the road map jealously by all stakeholders.
According to him, “the summit will provide a platform for all stakeholders to present, discuss and prioritize the key challenges and opportunities for Niger state to realize its massive earning and employment potentials in the agribusiness sector”.
Consequently, the United Nations $15.7 million Agribusiness Investment Activity is to cultivate new frontier in agriculture with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as the donor agency for the five years project (2018-2023).
He regretted over the retrogression of Niger state position in agricultural development in the country due to abandoning its potentials however expressed UN commitment in supporting the state to regain path in agriculture, advising policy makers to develop ways for the success of the project.
In his remarks, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State charged for a comprehensive report of the summit so as to serve as a tool for government formation of policies for the state agricultural growth and commended USAID for the programme.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary office of the SSG, Yahaya Wachiko who explained that this was in line with the state strategic plans in agricultural sector, urged for a sustainable partnership in achieving its objectives hence the state has considered agriculture as a business rather than culture or occupation perceived in the past.
Apparently, when implemented it is expected that the activity will mitigate obstructive policies making it easier to do agribusiness in Nigeria, to broaden access to finance and reduce risk of agribusinesses, expand and scale up operations and promote investment in agriculture sector hence the Activity focal states includes; Niger, Benue, Ebonyi, Delta, Kaduna, Kebbi, Cross River states in Nigeria.