The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has disbursed N4, 620, 000 million empowerment grant to 16 cooperatives in Akwa Ibom state.
Each of the cooperatives received N288, 750 cheque together with certification of being trained on agricbusiness development empowerment at the closing ceremony of the Agribusiness Development and Empowerment (ADEP) for Selected Cooperative Societies, Self-Help Group (SHC) Trade Association and Organisation, NGO and MBOs organised by SMEDAN.
Speaking during the disbursement of the grant Saturday in Uyo, the director general of SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Umar, said the programme was to foster emergence of new businesses among youth and women in the state.
Umar, who was represented by the South-south zonal director of SMEDAN, Mr Egbuna Ilona, said the training was to ensure speedy and healthy competition among entrepreneurs which would encourage diversification of the economy away from oil.
“The objectives for this training programme include, to encourage the target beneficiaries to embrace agri-business development, as a viable business option.
“Strengthen entrepreneurship skills of potential/existing beneficiaries of agribusiness development schemes.
“Facilitate networking/exchanges amongst beneficiary farmers and their peers for value addition and inclusive value chain development, as well as encourage the diversification of the economy away from crude oil, using agriculture.
“Consequently, as part of our engagement here today, the sixteen (16) agribusiness cooperatives from this intervention, at the two centres, in Eket and Uyo, will each receive cash grants of about N288, 750 each amounting to N4, 620, 000,” Umar said.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Rural Development and Cooperatives, Mrs Enobong Mbobo, commended SMEDAN for their timely support to the SMEs in the state.