J.E. Austin Associates (JAA) supported the USAID Nigeria Agribusiness Investment (NAI) Activity as a subcontractor to Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). JAA led a component of the project that improved the business-enabling environment to promote private investments in the agriculture sector.
Using a collaborative and evidence-based methodology for policy development and implementation, JAA worked with public and private sector partners to develop 22 policies that were approved and enacted by national and state ministries. Additionally, the JAA team and a group of Nigerian expert consultants helped the ministries develop implementation plans for eight policies.
JAA’s methodology for business environment reform includes evidence-based Public Private Dialogues (PPDs) with private sector partners and government representatives that facilitate communication and problem-solving. The PPDs on the NAI Activity led to new policies that improve the business enabling environment for the Nigerian agriculture sector and respond to the needs of the private sector.
NAI assistance led to the development of new Administrative Guidelines and Processes for the Registration of Cooperative Societies in Delta, Ebonyi, and Cross River States that have improved the efficiency of registration processes in those states, making it easier and cheaper for cooperatives to form and to access capital and other forms of support for their members. In Ebonyi State, JAA supported the integration of the cooperative registration subsystem into the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Business Development’s existing loan portal. The digitization of the cooperative societies’ registration process resulted in an efficient registration process and data management to facilitate growth and investment in the state’s agricultural sector. The Activity supported the ministry to upload 100% of the state’s registered cooperative societies onto the loan portal. The integration of the registration system into the loan portal has allowed over 8,000 registered MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) access to 1.6 billion NGN (over USD 2 million) in grants through their cooperative societies.
JAA supported the Niger State’s Ministry of Investment, Commerce, and Industry in the formulation of the new Niger State Sector Specific Investment Incentive Policy, developed to improve the investment climate and encourage private investments in the state. The policy reforms enabled Niger state to become eligible for the World Bank-funded Nigeria State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Program-for-Results, which provides states with credit to implement reforms to improve the business-enabling environment. The new policy has already led to new investments, including Kiara Rice Mills Limited’s seven-billion-naira project installing a factory plant, creating new jobs, and increasing local rice production. Salid Agriculture set up a shea nut processing plant that will process 100 mt of shea nuts per day, and Hydropolis Investments Limited established an industrial park, smart city, and a cargo international airport in Niger State.
The Activity supported updating the National Agriculture Seed Policy to increase agricultural production by improving the quality of seeds and farmers’ access to them. After the policy’s approval, JAA facilitated its implementation by mobilizing agricultural specialists from the National Agricultural Seed Council to participate in a workshop to assess their implementation capacity and receive training on how to use the policy tool to monitor their implementation of the new policy. JAA worked with four agriculture policy specialists to adapt the monitoring tool to the policy context and pilot it with the council. JAA engaged consultants to train the Policy Implementation Advocacy Community of Practice (PIAC) Group, a team of experts who have volunteered to continue working towards improving the enabling environment through policy reforms beyond the project’s term, in the use of the policy monitoring tool to transfer ownership and ensure the sustainability of its policy interventions.
JAA initiated and supported the review of the Nigeria National Quality Policy, both technically and financially, which coincided with the signing of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that will encourage agribusinesses to compete on quality, reach larger markets, gain greater access to international value chains, and create more affordable choices in the market.
The expertise and capabilities brought to the project by JAA served as the driving force behind the comprehensive series of reforms, including building the capacity to monitor the impact of policy changes, conducting in-depth policy analyses designed to invigorate Nigeria’s agricultural and agribusiness-enabling environment across several value chains. These sweeping policy reforms were strategically aligned to propel the development of Sector-Specific Agribusiness Value Chains across seven pivotal states in Nigeria.
The Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity has been instrumental in unlocking over $244 million in financing and investments for 18,437 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with significant economic potential. The Activity has enhanced cooperation with governmental and non-governmental entities, establishing sustainable mechanisms for fostering dialogue between the public and private sectors through Public-Private Sector Dialogue (PPD) forums, creating a collaborative environment between governmental bodies and non-governmental economic entities to drive progress in Nigeria’s agriculture and agribusiness sector.
Learn more about the Activity’s impact below: