BENUE STATE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR AGRI-FOOD (MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES) VALUE CHAIN ACTORS: STAKEHOLDER PERCEPTION AND EVIDENCE REPORT.

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June 1, 2022 - Author: Ufedo Monday Shaibu

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest single market in the world. About 98% of African countries are Member State and official trade commenced on January 1, 2021.  We conducted a workshop in Benue State, Nigeria among relevant stakeholders in the agribusiness space with focus on sustainability in the agribusiness sector and AfCFTA.  It was established that the agribusiness sector remains key to the realization of AfCFTA goal and objectives. Business and agri-food business opportunities exist in Benue State due to its strategic location. These opportunities are associated with the availability of raw materials, land, manpower, research institutes, favorable environmental and climatic conditions, and availability of natural resources (e.g. water bodies) that supports agribusinesses. These opportunities are however not without some challenges as the State currently battle with insecurity issues, inadequate infrastructures, and low level of value addition due to inadequate processing equipment/factories, among others. Expectedly, for the AfCFTA to reach its full potential by exploiting the full range of the agri-food value chain, including agro-processing, the Benue State government and development partners need to step up efforts to scale up intra-African trade by providing policy framework, creating awareness on existing policy frameworks and capacity-building support (in terms of record keeping, financial literacy, among others) to the MSMEs.

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