Youth-Led Enterprise Accesses Finance to Scale-Up Soybean Production in Benue State
Benue State is a major hub for soybean production in Nigeria, producing over 100 metric tons of beans each year– approximately 30% of the country’s total. But due to rising demand for oilseed, processors are turning to imports instead of relying on local production and Nigerian farmers, particularly smallholders, are facing pressure to maintain their market share by increasing their yields.
To support soybean farmers with meeting market demand and expanding their businesses, the USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), facilitated training and connections between producers and financial institutions to enhance agribusiness performance and improve access to finance.
The Activity partnered with youth-owned soybean farm, Agojo Farms Ltd, to strengthen their business development skills, teach soybean production best practices and secure financing for increased production. The Activity trained Agojo Farm representatives on microenterprise fundamentals, group dynamics and leadership while breaking down barriers to accessing finance for youth. In line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s requirements for their Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), the Activity also supported Agojo Farms to prepare a business plan, which enabled them to secure a loan in early 2021.
“The AGSMEIS loan supported us to expand our soybean farm from four acres to 11 acres,” said Angbiandoo Agojo, CEO of Agojo Farms Ltd. “After learning to procure improved seed varieties, we also anticipate an increased yield of 15 bags of soybeans for every two acres of land, compared to just 10 bags in previous seasons.”
By building the capacity of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to improve their business development and production, particularly for those owned and operated by youth, the Activity supports soybean producers to access finance, provide employment and efficiently scale up their operations, improving livelihoods and fulfilling the country’s growing demand for soybean.
Since December 2018, the Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity has facilitated access to agricultural-related credit and investment worth over 35 billion Naira ($96 million) for over 11,000 MSMEs in Nigeria. Over the next two years, the Activity will continue working with a range of market actors and stakeholders, with a specific focus on youth and other marginalized business owners, to improve the enabling environment for agricultural sector growth, broaden access to agribusiness finance, facilitate investment for agribusiness expansion and sustainably enhance the performance of agribusinesses across Nigeria.