Farmer entrepreneurs decry no access to financial supports at grassroots

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From: AgroNature Admin

ASSOCIATION of Agricultural and Industrial Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (A.I.E.N) has said agro allied businesses across the country has been crippled with no financial supports to boost entrepreneurial development in the sector especially at the grassroots.

Chukwu Nwachukwu, President of the association, on Tuesday disclosed this at the inaugural meeting with Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Abuja on Ward Based Clusters Initiatives in Nigeria.

He said aside from the monetary support, small and medium business owners also lack capacity to manage financial flows and book keeping process, which he described as vital to developing SMEs.

“The biggest problem with small and medium enterprise is access to finance and the reason they don’t have access to finance is firstly, they are not trained in the areas of entrepreneur development and book keeping and the likes.

“Secondly, they do not have necessary collaboration. Also, depositors’ money banks in the country pay lip service to SMEs which is the drivers and engine of growth in any developing economy”.

“The country had always has programmes dealing with employment generation and so much funds had been earmarks but not actually getting to the grassroots where it should belong”.

However, Nwachukwu said the partnership with RMRDC is to create wealth and employments for farmers at the grassroots level.

“Employment generation and wealth creations must be necessarily driven by entrepreneurs and the AIEN has come up with the initiative of cluster development with RMRDC as the memberships are spread all over the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.

“The cluster initiative means that each local government will have one cluster and this is a noble idea in this country but it is not noble in other parts of the world.

“You could imagine where we can put 250 farmer entrepreneurs per local government in a cluster all producing, at very least purpose; you can create over 2 million jobs annually and this is visible, possible and practical.” He emphasized.

Prof. Useni Ibrahim, Director-General of RMRDC in his remarks, said the association already designed comprehensive package within the agricultural ecosystem to assist farmer entrepreneurs to remain in business, create wealth and check unemployment in the country.

“If we put hands together and do things jointly, the results we go better in the way of the way of individuals as the vision of the association is to established farmer men and women in business in each of the local government we have in the country.

“Luckily the President of AIEN was the former member of the board of the council and he was in charge of cluster projects we have in the council,” Ibrahim, represented by Dr Bola Olugbemi, the Director of Agriculture and Agro Allied Development.

 “Then, our vision is to have cluster projects in each of the local government areas and after this we want to also establish one per ward so that we can capture the entire federation and make people engaged in one way or the other that will upgrade the economy of the nation, provide employment for our people, generates in come for all and as well as reduce or totally eliminates the restiveness and negative vices we have in our society today.”

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