iProduce Africa, an agribusiness hub sponsored by Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), said it has concluded plans to train at least 200 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and agri-entrepreneurs.
A statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by Aisha Waziri-Umar, Chief Executive Officer, iProduce Africa, said that the online training was targeted at boosting the operations and capabilities of SMEs and agri-entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
The online event scheduled for Nov. 20 is with the theme “Accessing Non-Interest Finance for Agribusiness Exports’’.
Waziri-Umar added that the training was necessitated by the need to take advantage of the zero-oil economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government.
According to her, iProduce Africa, backed by Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) will train agribusinesses and SMEs, especially young agri-entrepreneurs, on requisite technical skills on how to export their produce thereby integrating them into global food value chains.
“iProduce will also train the SMEs and agri-entrepreneurs on how to access finance, including non-interest funding for their export activities,’’ Waziri-Umar said.
She noted that agribusiness exports presented significant opportunities for job creation to absorb the youth and improve the livelihoods of young people who make up the majority of Nigeria’s population.
“We are forming partnerships with the relevant government ministries and agencies and I am confident that iProduce will play a vital role in the diversification of the Nigerian economy,” Waziri-Umar said.
She added that experts would be engaged by iProduce to train and advise agri-entrepreneurs on how to take advantage of the Nigeria’s non-interest banking windows to secure financing for the export of high quality agric commodities.
“Since August 2021, when it was formally launched by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, iProduce Africa has trained 500 farmers on various areas of agribusiness.
“This includes livestock, fruits and vegetables, garments, among others,’’ she said.
Waziri-Umar disclosed that iProduce Africa planned to train at least 1,000 Agri-Entrepreneurs in 2022 and back them with the relevant agribusiness advisory services.
iProduce Africa Agribusiness Hub is an initiative of Inara Foundation, a non-profit organisation established to address development challenges in Nigeria.
The hub was set up as a direct response to the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government, which seeks to wean the Nigerian economy away from dependence on oil to agriculture as a source of foreign exchange earnings.