By ABDULLATEEF ALIYU, Lagos
The Lagos State Government will spend over N1.2bn on farmers under the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) for the 2021 project year, it has been revealed.
The APPEALS project is a comprehensive six-year World Bank Assisted project aimed at supporting farmers’ productivity and their linkage to markets.
Besides no fewer than 1,465 businesses under the Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) would be created in 2021.
So far the project has supported 10,917 farmers surpassing the target of 10,000 for the project with over N912.9m spent on various projects under the three identified value chains of rice, aquaculture and poultry.
Out of the N912.9m spent in 2020, the farmers contributed over N200m as part of the condition for the project.
879 farmers supported
Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the state coordinator of the project, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, disclosed that in 2020, 879 farmers who are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were supported directly with physical inputs, equipment in the three value chains.
Also, she said over 8000 farmers received training/demonstrations directly with strong evidence of positive effect with the aim of enhancing their capacity and knowledge.
With the various trainings given to the farmers, 102 beneficiaries are presently using improved technologies, she disclosed.
13.16 kilometres farm access roads constructed
Speaking further, the coordinator stated that 13.16 kilometres of farm access roads were constructed to ease movement of farm produce to the markets.
She said, “The project is very hopeful that 2021 will be better. This year we will help 3000 farmers directly and over 12,000 individuals indirectly through infrastructure support, job creation, training.
“This project started in 2019 but then we didn’t support anyone with input. We were sensitising the farmers, carrying out business plans.
“The design of this project is to ensure that a minimum of five per cent of the beneficiaries are people living with disabilities (PWD) but we want to appreciate Mr. Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has been of tremendous support to this project.
“I want to say that this project is fully supported by the Lagos State Government. It is a loan that the Lagos State Government is going to pay back. So because of the passion of Mr. Governor, we went a step further to empower 10 percent as against five percent of PWDs from the World Bank Office and the Governor has said that the remaining five percent would be supported with a counterpart fund.
“In the process of this project, there is a part of it that the Lagos State Government pays and I can tell you that the state government has always paid promptly each time we request for fund, it has always paid the counterpart fund and part of it is to support the PWDs target of what the World Bank has approved.
“One of the things that this project is looking at is to ensure that you enhance productivity but you make sure that it gets to the table of the last man.
“So whatever it is that would ensure smooth operation and process, the project would support it.” (Text, excluding headline, courtesy Daily Trust)