By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja, Aug. 6, 2019
Seven Nigerian State Governors benefiting from the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) agribusiness investment fund have pledged their commitment to ensure the success of the programme towards boosting Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
The governors made the pledge on Tuesday in Abuja in separate interviews with newsmen at the sidelines of the launch of the USAID’s 15 million dollars Feed the Future (FTF) Nigeria activity to boost agribusiness.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the five-year investment plan will be implemented in seven states in the country which are: Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi and Cross Rivers.
The FTF agribusiness plan seeks to strengthen enabling environment to promote private sector investment in the agricultural sector
Gov. Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi said that the USAID’s intervention was apt and would create a connecting platform between local farmers, small business owners, investors and financiers like the banks.
Bagudu said that a lot of Nigerians were hardworking but do not have the requisite support to be integrated into the market.
He said that Kebbi government has been doing a lot to ensure progress and unlock agricultural potential in the state, which has recorded significant success in the last five years.
According to him, this is a welcome development, for us as policy makers.
“We have the obligation to think for them, help them meet with the investors, financiers, so that they can get better value for their crops, fishes, livestock and they can contribute to global prosperity.
“We have tested from the policy making point of view in the past four, five years and the Federal Government has led the way and President Muhammadu Buhari has put economy policies under the able vice president.
“And together we have created a policy, environment that has eased business and has increased significantly with companies, who have taken the challenge being rewarded with high returns on capital.
“We are excited that the programme by the FTF of which Kebbi state is one of the seven states in the focal area will furthermore enhance our access to agribusiness.
“To unlock our access, more capital, particularly we need private equity capital, insurance companies and banks that will be able to support us in a more bigger way,” Bagudu said.
Also speaking, Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River lauded the U.S government Feed the Future programme in Nigeria, which he described as an opportunity created for Nigerian to grow and feed themselves.
Ayade said that Cross Rivers has taken agribusiness as a priority in the state and was more committed to seeing a very productive agriculture sector in Nigeria.
He called for federal government’s support in improving technology in the agricultural sector, which he explained would contribute greatly to the USAID’s agribusiness investment plan.
“You need advanced technology in agriculture. Money and technology must have a great intercourse to bring true value to agriculture.
“Agriculture technology is a bit primitive in Africa, it is difficult to support and take agriculture as a core business and so government on its own part must also provide a technology mechanism.
“New incentives that can actually crate a new process that will be attractive to an investor.
“Nigerian government must know that they have to do linkages and hold technology agriculture investors together,” Ayade said.
Similarly Benue State governor, Sam Ortom said the Feed the Future plan is the right thing to happen at this time where agriculture is going to be turned into the biggest employer of labour.
Orthom, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Terwase Orbunde said that for agriculture to become the biggest employer of labour, technology is the key.
He said that Benue being the food basket of the nation would implement the Feed the Future Agribusiness Investment in line with its already existing programmes for success.