60,000 farmers to benefit from $200m APPEALS project fund

Sixty thousand farmers, drawn from six states will benefit from the $200m World Bank assisted project, under the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS).

This was disclosed at the Project Facilitation Training for facilitators, which ended yesterday, in Lagos. The APPEALS project, implemented through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in six participating states of Cross River, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Lagos, is a six-year project expected to run between 2017 and 2023.

It is in line with the Agricultural Promotion Policy (The Green Alternative) of the Federal Government, aimed at building on the legacy of the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) and plans to support policy thrust on food security, local production, job creation and economic diversification.

The National Women, Youths and Livelihood Specialist of APPEALS, Mrs. Heather Akanni, said a total of 21,000, comprising women, youths and people living with disabilities formed 35 per cent of 60,000 recipients, expected to benefit from the initiative across the states, in order to improve women’s livelihood. Project Coordinators of the states, commended the initiative, describing it as the needed impetus to develop the sector.

The Lagos State Project Coordinator, Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, said the project has improved the productivity of farmers. She added that it has also impacted value addition, in terms of processing; saying when there is value addition to what the farmers are doing the issue of sustainability is solved. She said the project has not faced any challenge, basically due to support from government, farmers and wonderful teams.
Cross River State Coordinator, Mr. Marcel Agim, who said the project has enhanced the capacity of women and youth in the state, noted that 400 people have already benefitted from the scheme, including co-operative societies. Agim, who disclosed that his state is concentrating on poultry, cocoa and rice because it has comparative advantage in those crops, said the project was intended to support beneficiaries with inputs only, adding that those interested in necessary technology, equipment and infrastructure would be provided to help them set up and to grow.

On his part, the Kaduna State Coordinator, Mr. Yahaya Abdullahi said the state’s focus is on maize, dairy and ginger, adding that the type of ginger grown in Nigeria is of high quality with high demand within and outside the country.

He however, expressed regret that the country has not been able to meet up with international standards and not really exporting it because of poor handling by farmers. He expressed optimism that the APPEALS project would help introduce required technology and measures to make Nigerian ginger more acceptable in the international market.