According to the Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Olawale Fasanya, over two million businesses in the Nano, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (nMSMEs) subsector have shut down between 2017 and 2021. As a result, more than six million Nigerians have been pushed into the unemployment market.
Fasanya attributed the failure of these businesses to various factors such as insecurity that has denied farmers access to their farms, inadequate access to affordable funds, high cost of doing business, inflation, and lack of access to local, regional, and global markets, among others.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a cluster empowerment program on shea butter organized by SMEDAN in collaboration with the Niger State government, Fasanya noted that the cluster empowerment initiative is aimed at revitalizing rural enterprises and mainstreaming them into the formal sector. This will cushion the effects of the economic downturn on nMSMEs in the country.
Also speaking at the event, the Director General of the Niger State Commodity and Export Promotion Council, Fatima Wushishi, revealed that the state produces 196,000 tons of shea butter annually out of the 500,000 tons produced annually in West Africa. She lamented that the opportunities in the shea butter business have not been adequately harnessed in the country