Empowering Agriculture and MSMEs: The Impact of the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity in Ebonyi State
In Ebonyi State, southeastern Nigeria, a groundbreaking partnership between the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Business Development and the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity has sparked a remarkable transformation. Dr. Stephen Odo, the pioneer Honorable Commissioner for the Ministry of Business Development, spearheaded this collaboration, recognizing the crucial connection between agriculture and micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development, and helped develop a digital portal in 2021. This portal serves as a central hub for information, processing loans, grant applications and even handling fund disbursement. By digitizing registration processes, the Ministry enabled cooperative societies to register online, and has since streamlined processes, reduced administrative bottlenecks and facilitated seamless updates and changes for registration of cooperative societies.
“The portal provides a comprehensive database accessible to farmers, cooperatives and MSMEs, with over 14,000 registered cooperative societies in Ebonyi State,” Odo said.
The impact of the portal in the last two years and the partnership with the Activity has been substantial. The portal further created ease of disbursement of funds to MSMEs by the Ebonyi State government’s NG-CARES program because all relevant information was already available through the portal, further bolstering support for agricultural businesses and ensuring financial accessibility and accountability.