BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI
The Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) has disclosed that its rural community development programme of One Village One Product (OVOP) project in Rimba and Nuku communities in Abaji area council has resulted in the production of Shea butter, which will soon be ready for export.
Briefing newsmen on the activities of the agency at the weekend, the managing director/chief executive officer of AEA, Arabi Mohammed Tukur revealed that the FCT administration is working with the European Union (EU) towards up scaling the product to qualify it for export, adding that a company in the UK was anxiously waiting for completion of the up scaling process to commence buying the product.
Tukur explained that the OVOP initiative is a strategy being adopted by the agency to bring about economic empowerment on a massive scale by identifying and developing products indigenous to various communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He maintained that the initiative has impacted 106 women through training, sales on platforms such as kaymus and Olx and market linkage, while the product is currently undergoing up scaling of storage facility and provision of large capacity processing equipment.
The managing director added that the initiative on cassava project in Chikuku community in Kwali area council, which was designed to build the cassava value chain in the FCT, has also provided entrepreneurial training, counselling and linkage to improved cassava seedling to 100 farmers, thereby increasing their yields.
He continued: ‘The agency has successfully setup a 24 ton of Garri Processing Centre. This has led to the creation of over 100 jobs and increased income for the community of Chikuku. Also the One Village One Product on fish production and processing project at Guito community in Bwari area council has trained the beneficiaries of the project on fish farming and entrepreneurship. The Centre has an installed capacity to process 12 tons of fish.”
Tukur also revealed that the agency’s target was to ensure creation of at least 10,000 solid jobs between this year and 2020. “The Abuja Enterprise Agency is committed to delivering the mandate of job creation, wealth generation and the reduction of poverty in the FCT.
With the support being received from the FCT Administration by the agency, the target of creating 10,000 jobs and the reduction of unemployment rate to a single digit status by year 2020 is achievable in the territory,” he said.
He listed other achievements of the agency to include, provision of business advisory, capacity building, business promotions, access to finance, consultancy and other critical services to businesses in the FCT.
Speaking more on the ‘impact matrix of the agency’, the AEA CEO revealed that the “Agency supported a total of 12,539 individuals and entrepreneurs” through various business activities, using more than N2bn between May 2015 to May 2017.
According to him, AEA’s direct disbursements alone totaled N2 billion, while it provided training services to 2,742; reached out to 9536 households across the territory; conducted business growth programmes for 7396 businesses and provided business advisory services to 882 individuals.
Other programmes and activities carried out the agency also include the provision of enterprise promotion services to 1915; access to finance for 5461 persons; rendered rural enterprise development services to 1539; created 1616 jobs; and created 348 enterprises, totaling 31,435 individuals and businesses.