US Govt grants 18,000 Nigerian-owned MSMEs access to N188bn in agricultural investments

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The US government has helped nearly 18,000 small businesses, commonly known as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), have access to N188 billion ($244 million) in agricultural investment.

A statement on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, by the USAID read that the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), celebrated the achievements of the five-year “Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment activity,” on October 10.

The $15.7 million agribusiness investment activity assisted more than 18,000 small businesses, also known as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), in seven states: Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Niger.  The initiative mobilized more than 188 billion Naira ($244 million) in agricultural investment, thereby providing access to finance and bolstering their businesses. 

According to the statement, “The MSMEs are now able to expand business operations for increased food production, specifically for aquaculture, cowpea, maize, rice, and soybean.”

The statement said agriculture accounts for a substantial part of Nigeria’s economy and 35 percent of Nigeria’s workforce is employed in the sector. Nigerian agriculture has economic potential if the high cost of doing business, limited access to finance and investment, and high regulatory barriers can be addressed.

It added that by supporting agriculture and food security programmes in collaboration with the federal and state ministries of agriculture and food security and the private sector to increase agricultural productivity, expand markets, improve nutrition, and facilitate access to finance, USAID has partnered with Nigeria to help address these challenges.

USAID/Nigeria Economic Growth and Environment Office Director Michelle Corzine said: “We have seen remarkable improvements in the agricultural sector, and it is essential that public and private-sector actors continue to collaborate to ensure that we continue to improve the business environment for Nigeria’s farmers.”

More than 150 people attended the closeout event, including the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, USAID officials, and public and private-sector partners.