The National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd (Nedco) and the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase the number of agri-entrepreneurs and thereby increase local food production.
Speaking at the signing yesterday Nedco’s chairman Clarry Benn said the MoU will support participants in training and development, business advisory services, mentorship and networking opportunities.
In addition to traditional roles as debt financiers, Nedco and the ADB’s collaboration under the business accelerator programme will also provide facilities for product development and research and processing along the agro-value chain.
“We will promote the growth and development of ADB’s clients for financial independence, stability and competitiveness through focused financial products,” Benn added.
The ADB’s deputy chairman Randall Mohammed, who also spoke, said the organisation is continuously seeking to develop its clients and increase interest in the sector as it recognises the need to stimulate activity along the entire agricultural value chain.
These include primary production, distribution and packaging, agro-processing, export and final consumption.
“To adequately prepare our clients for effective participation in these various areas of economic activity it is necessary to complement their technical skill set with entrepreneurial knowledge.
“The bank has been able to attract an increased number of youths over the last year with an increase of 32 per cent,” Mohammed said.
Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Avinash Singh also echoed the M0U as a proactive move as it will equip mutual clients with the knowledge to transition into agri-entrepreneurs, who will contribute to a sustainable agriculture and fisheries sectors.
He explained such sustainability included increased employment, reduced demand for imported food leading to less strain on the demand for foreign exchange while increasing economic activity not only in the agriculture sector but other related areas such as manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, among others.
“The result will be a positive impact on the social well-being of citizens which is in direct alignment with the diversification thrust in support of the national development strategy,” Singh added.