In a bid to assist small and medium-scale entrepreneurs in Ondo State in adapting to the recent fuel subsidy changes, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) conducted a comprehensive training session. The event, held at SMEDAN Hall & Event Centre in Ondo State’s capital, Akure, specifically addressed challenges faced by businesses involved in cocoa, cassava, poultry, and fishery farming.
Prince Olawale Ademola, State Project Coordinator for IFAD/LIFE-ND Project, offered valuable advice to the entrepreneurs. He emphasized the need for them to develop strategies to minimize losses. Additionally, he suggested exploring business sectors with lower capital requirements or diversifying their ventures.
Representing Prince Ademola, Mrs. Ajibade Olukemi, State Rural Institution, Gender and Youth Officer of IFAD, underscored the importance of understanding the value chain within their respective industries. This, she explained, was crucial for sustaining their enterprises. She also encouraged them to provide feedback on their business activities, assuring them of recognition for hard work and dedication.
Furthermore, entrepreneurs were urged to strengthen their groups and embrace a culture of saving. These steps, it was explained, would enable them to fully benefit from the agency’s provisions.
Prince Tomi Ikuomola, State Manager of SMEDAN, advised all entrepreneurs to ensure their businesses were properly registered with institutions such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). He emphasized the significance of obtaining a National Identification Number (NIN) for access to loans and other agency programs.
Pastor Olorunfemi Samson, an expert on Credit/Loan Mobilization for LIFE – ND Enterprise Groups in selected Communities, provided insights into accessing available loans through agencies. He also conducted training on packaging products to meet international standards, enabling entrepreneurs to tap into the international market.
The attendees expressed gratitude to the agencies for their valuable assistance in addressing the challenges arising from the recent fuel subsidy changes, demonstrating a commitment to supporting the resilience and growth of small businesses in Ondo State.