USAID’s $3m scheme boosts entrepreneurial capacity of Nigerian agripreneurs

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THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says its $3million ‘Feed the Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs Activity’ scheme has improved the entrepreneurial capacity of agricultural inputs dealers to extend their networks to rural areas.
Nigeria Mission Director of USAID, Stephen Haykin, said the Agro-Inputs Activity, which has been on for three years, had built approximately 1,400 agro-inputs dealers and 4,000 smallholder farmers across the country. USAID He asserted that the scheme had helped to regulate the agro-inputs sector and improved the entrepreneurial capacity of agro-dealers to extend their networks to rural areas. The activity had helped to increase smallholder farmers’ demands for high-quality inputs, technologies and good agricultural practices, Haykin declared.
He said it had also helped to empower women and youth farmers to access inputs and new technologies. According to him, the scheme has strengthened the private sector-led agricultural inputs market, which enabled farmers to access quality inputs and increases their agricultural productivity. “It demonstrated the productivity-enhancing technologies of Urea Deep Placement and soil and crop specific fertilizer blends. The activity worked with microfinance institutions to improve access to credit and easing the burden normally faced by farmers during the planting season. Through this partnership, 60 per cent of beneficiary farmers and agro-inputs dealers were able to access finance to grow their businesses,” he stated.
Haykin said that the Activity had also strengthened the private sector-led agricultural inputs market in Nigeria. He said that it had helped to provide extension advisory services to farmers and to compensate for a shortfall of public extension agents in the Federal Capital Territory and seven target states.

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