THE Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) says it is in partnership with the First City Monument Bank (FCMB), to facilitate access to finance for nutrition-focused Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the country.
Dr Michael Ojo, Country Director, GAIN Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the partnership was aimed at promoting productivity, competitiveness and growth of the SMEs, as they improved the nutritional value of their products and services.
According to him, the focus of the partnership is on Nigeria’s nutrient-enriched Vitamin A Maize, Vitamin A Cassava, orange fleshed sweet potatoes and rice value chains.
“Agribusiness is one of Nigeria’s most important economic sectors, contributing significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“According to a World Bank Survey, the agriculture sector employs the most people and generates the highest income in Nigeria, with about 34 million hectares of fertile land.
“Nigeria’s broad agricultural industry successfully produces cereals, tubers, legumes, herbs and spices, fruits, horticultural goods, fish, animals and other items.
“Nevertheless, the sector faces the critical challenge of financing in attaining its full potential even in the 21st century.
“The World Bank Survey also shows that demand for food will increase by 70 per cent by 2050.
“At least 80 billion dollars annual investments will be needed to meet agricultural financing initiatives, providing an opportunity to solve the challenges in the different value chains.
“That is, production, processing, distribution and marketing.
I will also “eliminate waste, support sustainable development, increase productivity, create decent jobs and reduce poverty”, he said.
Ojo added that GAIN and FCMB were committed to working together, as they shared the same principle of strengthening core food systems and making financing options available to SMEs in staple food value chains.
“This partnership will eliminate challenges and boost the country’s diverse food value chains beyond enriching produce with Vitamin A.
“It will also produce the much needed support for the holistic development of Nigeria’s agricultural and food value chain sector while improving the nutrition status of Nigerians,” he said.(NAN)