Okwe Obi, Abuja
The United States government has said the world cares about Nigeria because of its population and size but stressed that regardless of international donor funding, the country’s development lies in Nigerians.
This is even as it launched $15.7m agribusiness investment programmes which is expected to focus on boosting public and private sector partners, connecting micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs), and entrepreneurs with larger firms, and reforms that constrain ease of doing business.
US ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, who spoke at the Feed the Future Initiative, in Abuja, added that real opportunity and hope is for Nigerians to grow, produce and sell crops more than their cost.
He said: “The whites will come and go, donors will come and go. But what will not come and go is what we grow. Nobody will grow the future of Nigeria other than Nigerians.
“The world cares about Nigeria because of Nigeria’s size, population and growth strength. Nigeria is great because the number is here. But if the number does not have an equal opportunity of production what looks magnificent from a distance can become a close reflection of something of great value.”
On the $15.7 million investment which is to cultivate new frontiers in Kaduna, Nigeria, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, and Cross River states respectively, Symington said that programme is targeted at generating over N1 billion within five years.
In addition, Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, who was in company with his Cross River State counterpart, Ben Ayade, said government would assist Nigerian entrepreneurs who are willing to work hard meet the expectation of investors, financiers to enable them get better value for livestock to meet what he called “global prosperity.”
But, Ayade who challenged the Federal government to invest more in evaluating lands for investment rather luring foreign investors, urged it to invite stakeholders in agriculture to a roundtable to discuss how to boost agribusiness.